From contract-free handsets to prepaid flexibility, Vodafone has something for every Australian mobile phone user.
Vodafone offers a range of telecommunications services for every purpose, from high-end enterprise all the way down to your humble mobile phone. While Vodafone has only recently started offering fixed-line services via the NBN, its pedigree in mobile services spans many years, with postpaid contract SIM-only plans, prepaid plans and a unique take on how to structure mobile plans that includes handsets.
Vodafone's approach to mobile contracts used to follow the normal routine of a handset paired with a mobile plan and handset repayments over 24 months, but in 2017 it re-engineered its approach to plans that included a handset.
Vodafone prepaid plans
As it does with postpaid contract mobile plans, Vodafone's approach to prepaid is somewhat different to the rest of the industry, depending on your precise needs. Its standard prepaid plans fall under the Combo Plus moniker and typically look like this:
Vodafone's postpaid SIM-only plans are offered on 12-month contract terms or on rolling month-to-month terms. If you sign up for the full year you typically get larger data inclusions, although like the postpaid plans with bundled handsets, the more expensive plans also come with additional international calling inclusions.
How does Vodafone compare?
Vodafone's positioning in the local market has long been one of offering superior value at a given price point compared to the big players in the telco space.
Typically you'll find larger data allowances at a given price point on a Vodafone plan, although that is somewhat tempered by a slightly smaller coverage map than the Telstra or Optus networks. That's only likely to be a concern for more regional or rural users, with Vodafone investing heavily in its network in metropolitan and larger regional centres in recent years.
Vodafone removing handset "plans" in favour of what is effectively outright phone sales at 0% interest rates makes it an interesting comparison against Telstra or Optus for any given handset offered by all three carriers.
On the surface, Vodafone may come across as lower cost because it will often list the 36-month payment term for a handset, but you've got to qualify that with the fact that you must maintain a mobile plan with Vodafone or pay the rest of the handset plan out immediately.
Why should you consider Vodafone?
Vodafone's reputation is one of selling high-value plans on its own network, so if you're a particularly heavy data user its top-tier plans can often represent great value. Like most providers, its postpaid plans charge a flat $10 per GB of excess usage, helping to keep your costs under control.
In terms of extra features, one key aspect of Vodafone's numerous plans is the ability to earn bonus Qantas Points as part of your ongoing mobile spend. If you're a frequent flyer, that can be a great additional value. Many plans also give you a bonus quantity of Qantas Points simply for signing up.
Vodafone Australia is part of the global Vodafone group and that gives the carrier certain unique advantages for travellers. While competitors Telstra and Optus sell roaming packages as add-ons to your existing plan, Vodafone postpaid customers can take advantage of Vodafone's Red roaming deal, which charges you a flat $5 per day of usage to access whatever inclusions you've got on your existing plan. For longer-term usage that might not be the most cost-effective way to roam, but for shorter visits it's an extremely simple and competitive offer.
While the structure of its contract plans with bundled handsets removes most of the subsidy you might expect on higher-tier plans, from time to time Vodafone does offer loyalty discounts at certain plan tiers for selected handsets.
If you're unsure about the Vodafone network, Vodafone also offers the Vodafone Network Satisfaction Guarantee on its plans, with 30 days to trial out the service. If you're not happy with what you're getting, return any device and all you'll pay is any excess charges incurred within the first 30 days.
Vodafone prepaid recharge options
There’s a wide variety of ways to recharge your Vodafone prepaid mobile phone service depending on your personal preference. As with many prepaid plans, it’s worth reading the terms and conditions to determine if there are advantages to recharging earlier than your expiry period in order to take advantage of any rollover bonuses, which may vary by plan.
- Recharge online: Vodafone has a dedicated web portal (https://myaccount.myvodafone.com.au/recharge/new) for managing prepaid recharges for your own phone, or any Vodafone prepaid phone number. Payments are accepted through Visa, Mastercard, American Express or PayPal.
- Via MyVodafone app: Vodafone provides a dedicated smartphone app for managing your prepaid use, including recharges. It’s available for free for iOS (download here), Android (download here) or Windows Phone devices (download here)
- Recharge via SMS: You can recharge your Vodafone prepaid service via text message, sending a specific keyword to enable an automatic recharge as long as you’ve already assigned a credit card to your account. Vodafone’s video takes you through the process:
- Via voucher: Recharge vouchers for Vodafone prepaid services are available from a wide variety of mass market retailers, as well as at any Vodafone store. Vouchers do have specific expiry dates so it’s important to apply them at the right time otherwise you may find they have expired. Vouchers can be redeemed through Vodafone’s web portal or the MyVodafone app.