Vodafone NBN and Mobile Broadband Plans Compared January 2019

Vodafone is Australia’s third largest mobile network carrier behind Telstra and Optus, and has more recently expanded its offerings to include NBN services.

Vodafone offers many services in Australia including its traditional mobile phone plans. Recently, it has jumped on board the National Broadband Network, and now offers a simple mix of NBN plans as well.

These plans comes with a unique hook which Vodafone calls Instant Connect. This allows NBN customers to use Vodafone's mobile network for Internet access while waiting for their NBN connection to be installed and activated.

As noted above, Vodafone operates its own 4G and 3G networks which cover the majority of the Australian population. Like all mobile carriers, though, there are areas where Vodafone’s network well exceeds the service provided by others, just as there are areas where it doesn't perform so well.

Vodafone also offers discounts on monthly plan fees to customers who bundle multiple Vodafone plans under a single account. This covers Vodafone's broadband and mobile plans, with discounts starting at 5% and going up to 20% if you bundle more than five plans together.

Vodafone NBN plans

Vodafone began as a mobile carrier, and this gives it a couple of unique advantages in the NBN space. Firstly, it’s a well established company in Australia and has tested processes and infrastructure in place to support new NBN customers. Secondly, as a mobile carrier, it can offer a unique product mix which allows NBN customers to get online straight away, even before their NBN service is provisioned (using 4G as an interim connection method).

Like some other NBN providers, Vodafone keeps its service offering very simple. All plans offer unlimited data and are offered on no-lock-in, month-to-month contracts. The only difference between them is the NBN speed on offer:

  • Essential NBN plan with a Standard NBN connection and unlimited data for $59 per month
  • Essential+ NBN plan with a Standard Plus NBN connection and unlimited data for $69 per month
  • Premium NBN plan with a Premium NBN connection and unlimited data for $89 per month

The type of NBN connection you go with only determines what your theoretical maximum speeds are, not what you're actually likely to see. To combat this, Vodafone provides the following average speed estimates for the peak evening hours of 7:00PM to 11:00PM:

  • Essential NBN plan: 20.00Mbps
  • Essential+ NBN plan: 40.00Mbps
  • Premium NBN plan: 80.00Mbps

While Vodafone doesn't charge any set-up fees, it does require that you purchase its proprietary Vodafone Wi-Fi Hub to use as your NBN modem. The total cost for the device is $180, but you don't have to pay it all at once. Instead, Vodafone will charge you $5 extra a month to gradually pay off the device. If you commit to 36 months with Vodafone, however, the cost of the Wi-Fi hub is waived entirely. Should you cancel your service before the end of the 36 months, however, you'll need to pay out the remaining cost of the device.

Vodafone allows customers to change plans at any time with no change fees.

Along with the Instant Connect feature, Vodafone includes a 4G Backup service with its NBN offerings. If your NBN service fails or suffers an outage, you'll be switched to a 4G connection to keep you online until your NBN can be restored. Just be aware that the 4G service is speed-limited to 12Mbps download and 1Mbps upload.

Vodafone mobile broadband Plans

Vodafone has a range of mobile broadband plans available on prepaid, month-to-month, 12-month, 24-month or 36-month contracts. It also offers mobile broadband devices for bundling with its fixed-term contracts.

First up are Vodafone’s SIM-only plans. While all these plans are available on no-lock-in, month-to-month contracts, Vodafone includes more data if you commit for 12 months or more.

Month-to-month plans

  • SIM-only 2GB for $15 per month
  • SIM-only 7GB for $30 per month
  • SIM-only 14GB for $45 per month
  • SIM-only 20GB for $60 per month


  • SIM-only 3GB for $15 per month
  • SIM-only 10GB for $30 per month
  • SIM-only 20GB for $45 per month
  • SIM-only 30GB for $60 per month

On all of Vodafone’s postpaid mobile broadband plans, customers can save 10% on plans of $30 and above if they have another Vodafone service such as a mobile account. From time to time Vodafone offers other discounts too, for students, Vodafone family and friends and so on. These offers can offer generous savings, so they’re worth keeping an eye out for.

For customers looking to share their 4G connection across multiple devices, Vodafone offers bundle plans on 12-month, 24-month and 36-month contracts. These bundles combine the same inclusions as the 12-month SIM-only plans above with a Wi-Fi modem.

If you exceed your monthly data allowance on any of Vodafone’s mobile broadband plans, you'll be automatically charged $10 and granted an extra 1GB of data for that month only. You will continue to be charged at this rate until your allowance resets at the end of your current billing cycle.

On any of the minimum term contracts, you'll need to pay an early cancellation fee if you want to terminate your service before the minimum term is up. This fee varies, with cheaper plans charging 100% of their monthly cost times the number of months remaining on your contract while higher-rate plans drop the fee a bit to around 50% of your monthly fee times the months remaining. It’s important to read the fine print before signing up to make sure you know which fees may apply if you leave early.

If signing up to a post-paid contract sounds like too much, of if you’re not a regular user of mobile broadband, a pre-paid option might be more suitable. Recharge when you like, as much as you like, without any credit checks or minimum commitments. Most of Vodafone’s pre-paid mobile broadband options are based on 30-day expiry, but there is a 180-day option for those who will use less data, but need it to last longer:

  • Prepaid mobile broadband 5GB for $30 with a 30-day expiry
  • Prepaid mobile broadband 10GB for $40 with a 30-day expiry
  • Prepaid mobile broadband 10GB for $50 with a 180-day expiry
  • Prepaid modem starter pack 5GB with Vodafone Pocket WiFi 4G for $59 with a 30-day expiry

How does Vodafone compare?

When comparing mobile broadband providers, there’s more than just cost to compare. Customers also need to consider mobile network coverage in the places where they’re likely to use the service. Be sure to take into account the strength and reliability of Vodafone's 4G network at your home and other locations you frequent before signing up.

How do Vodafone’s NBN plans compare?

At the outset, Vodafone’s Essential NBN plan is a little pricey for unlimited data at Standard NBN speeds. Not only that, there are cheaper options available that boast faster Standard Plus speeds, though many of these are only cheaper for a limited time period before reverting to a more expensive regular rate.

Stepping up to NBN Standard Plus speeds (nbn50), Vodafone’s offering starts to look a little less competitive. It’s a fair bit pricier per month than competitors like Barefoot and Mate Communicate, making it a tough choice to recommend.

At top-tier NBN Premium speeds, the distinction is about the same. Many competitors offer unlimited data plans for as much as $20 cheaper than Vodafone. MyRepublic even offers a cheaper bundle that also includes a PAYG (Pay As You Go) home phone too, handy for those "just in case" situations.

How do Vodafone’s month-to-month mobile broadband plans compare?

Firstly, let’s compare Vodafone's month-by-month mobile broadband plans. As a starting point, $15 a month for 2GB isn’t terrible, but you could score 3GB for the same price by going with a competitor like Yomojo or CMobile.

At the $30 price point, there’s a little more competition, but Vodafone is still a little behind what most other competitors are doing at this price:

This starts to turn around at higher price points. Vodafone's larger plans more closely align with the competition, especially if you're lucky enough to sign up during one of Vodafone's regular promotions.

How do Vodafone’s 12-month and 24-month mobile broadband plans compare?

With Vodafone's longer-term plans packing more data than their month-to-month brethren, they represent better value for money – provided you're happy to make the minimum 12-month commitment.

Even with the added value, though, these plans come up short against offerings from Exetel and Southern Phone .

Vodafone's higher-tier plans perform slightly better, though they're still topped by the larger data caps on Exetel plans:

Since Vodafone's 12-month and 24-month plans are identical save for the bundled 4G modem, signing up for the longer commitment is only worth it if you need a new mobile broadband device and can't afford the cheaper upfront cost of buying one outright.

How do Vodafone’s prepaid mobile broadband plans compare?

If you’re looking for prepaid mobile broadband, Vodafone’s plans generally aren’t all that competitive. You should consider offers from smaller providers such as Lebara, amaysim and OVO, as they all offer better value plans at quite a saving.

Why should you consider Vodafone?

At the lower end of mobile broadband, Vodafone is not especially competitive on price. There are better deals, often with more inclusions, available from competing providers.

Vodafone’s strength as a mobile broadband provider lies north of the $30 per month mark, where many plans not only offer better inclusions than rival options, but also benefit from a 10% discount if you're already a Vodafone customer.

There is a good reason to consider Vodafone for lower price plans, regardless of what might look like lesser value. Like other major carriers (and unlike most smaller providers), Vodafone maintains a nation-wide network of retail shopfronts where you can walk in, and walk out with a mobile broadband service on the spot. Better yet, if something goes wrong, or if you need that personal touch, you can walk in and get it.

For basic home broadband, Vodafone’s NBN offerings have the advantage of including 4G Instant Connect and 4G Backup services, both of which are great options for those who need to be online quickly and consistently.

However, for customers seeking faster speeds, Vodafone’s higher plans do come at a bit of a price premium. If the addition of 4G Instant Connect and 4G backup doesn’t matter to you, or if you’ve already got a mobile broadband service (or a smartphone with a large data inclusion), you could probably save money elsewhere.

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