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How does Vodafone’s New Phone Every Year deal work?

Vodafone is the last of the three major telcos to offer an annual phone upgrade option. Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in a new phone from Vodafone every year.

Updated

Fact checked

Vodafone was the last of the major three network telcos to offer a deal that allows you to trade in your existing handset for a new one after only 12 months on a 24 month contract. Telstra has offered its New Phone Feeling deal for some years now, and Optus joined it with its New Phone Trade Up deal back in March.

Unfortunately, Vodafone ended its trade-in deal on 15 August 2017, with new contracts ineligible for the telco's New Phone Every Year offer.

How much did New Phone Every Year cost?

Like other telcos, if you took up the New Phone Every Year offer, there was a flat administrative fee to pay irrespective of any other costs. In Vodafone’s case it was a set $149 fee, which is the same price Telstra charges for its New Phone Feeling upgrade offer, but higher than the $99 Optus charges for its New Phone Trade Up option.

When you took up New Phone Every Year and paid your fee, your existing contract was effectively terminated and you had to sign up for a new two-year contract at the prevailing rates with your new handset.

Vodafone’s New Phone Every Year applied to any plan signed up for since 2 September 2016 and before 15 August 2017. If you signed with Vodafone prior to or after that period you are not eligible for this deal.

What happened to my existing phone?

In order to take advantage of the New Phone Every Year deal, you needed to trade in your existing handset, which had to be in good working order. Vodafone defined these criteria as follows:

  • The phone needs to be turned on and off.
  • The screen must be undamaged without any cracks, fades or bleeding.
  • No major cosmetic damage to the exterior.
  • Where applicable, the battery and back cover must be included.
  • The phone must not be network blocked, reported as stolen or counterfeit.
  • On iPhones, the iCloud account can’t be locked.

Once you traded it in, it was up to Vodafone what it did with the phone, so as such the key thing you needed to do was ensure that you’ve backed up any personal information on the phone and wiped it entirely before trading it in.

What if my phone has been replaced in the meantime?

Vodafone requested that the original mobile device is the one that is returned, "unless it has been replaced under an insurance policy, under warranty or in accordance with your rights under Australian consumer law."

As such, if you had a warranty or insurance replacement you should have been fine, but it may have helped to have supporting documentation to prove that the phone you’re handing is the replacement device you were issued with.

What if my phone had been lost or I wanted to keep it?

If you wanted to keep your new phone or you couldn't trade it in, you may have been able to access the New Phone Every Year deal but you had to pay a one-off cost to cover the outstanding mobile device payments on your handset as it was. This fee was added to your next bill, which should have been the first bill on your new contract.

What happened to my contract if I took up the New Phone Every Year deal?

You’re signing up for a completely new contract under this offer, which has a couple of significant considerations.

Firstly, it means that you would be under contract to Vodafone for a further 24 month period whereas your existing contract would only have a maximum of 12 months left on it.

Secondly, Vodafone specified that you couldn't use New Phone Every Year to shift down the contract scales. It may well be that the contract offerings have differed in the period when you first took up your handset, but you were explicitly not allowed to shift to a lower cost contract tier. You were free to contract anew at higher rates if that suited you, however.

Is New Phone Every Year worth it?

Vodafone’s New Phone Every Year deal was essentially identical to Telstra’s New Phone Feeling and Optus’ New Phone Trade Up deals, and the same advice we’d give around those plans applies here.

The value in this deal applies primarily if you’re not happy with the handset that you currently have, but not because you’ve broken it in any way, because then it doesn’t apply. If there’s a new handset that you think would be a better fit for your circumstances, and you’re happy to recontract for a further 24 months there can be value in paying a one-off $149 fee. However, ponder your choices carefully, because at the point you’re signing up you’re only 12 months away from owning your handset outright and heading to any carrier, or signing up for any of Vodafone’s month by month or prepaid plans, which may suit your usage or financial needs better.

Do any other Telcos offer similar services?

Vodafone was the last of the big three telcos to offer a phone trade up deal. Optus has its New Phone Trade Up offer, and Telstra customers can opt for its New Phone Feeling deal with very similar benefits and limitations.

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