Vodafone Pass: What you need to know about Vodafone’s unlimited streaming passes
Vodafone's new Vodafone Pass feature offers unlimited streaming, but it's worth reading the fine print.
There are four Vodafone Pass options available:
The cheapest Vodafone pass add-on is the Vodafone Chat Pass. For $5 extra per month on top of your postpaid Vodafone plan, you get unlimited social media usage across WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Viber. Although as we'll see in a moment, there are some exclusions to that "unlimited" status.
The most expensive of the new Vodafone Pass deals, the Video Pass, will cost you $15 extra per month. In return, you won't have to worry about data costs associated with streaming of Netflix, Stan or Amazon Prime video on your mobile phone. Only one video stream is permitted at a time, so you can't (for example) tether your phone as a hotspot and stream across multiple devices at once.
Does this mean I don't have to pay subscription fees for these services?
No, Vodafone Pass is an add-on purely to cover the data usage for services. Where a subscription fee is payable (eg for Netflix) you'll still have to cover that yourself.
What if I'm on a Vodafone Red Plus Plan?
Vodafone's Red Plus plans already include unlimited data, so naturally, there's no need for a Vodafone Pass there.
Are there any limitations I should know about?
In a word, yes. It's always worth reading the fine print, and especially for these passes, because they could affect their value to you in some significant ways.
The big caveat is that all Vodafone pass activity is limited to a maximum download speed of just 1.5Mbps, which means you're strictly in SD territory for any video streaming app. We've gone into detail about what you can do with a speed limited mobile service in more detail here.
There's also a lot of usage that you might think of as incidental that isn't covered by these passes. Vodafone's FAQ lists out some examples that could eat up your actual data allowance even though you might think they'd be covered:
- All VOIP and video calls via WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
- Access while tethering or hot-spotting.
- Advertisements and advertisement links that are displayed within apps.
- Access to third party apps embedded within Partner Apps (such as extensions on Facebook like GIPHY).
- Album Art and Movie Cover Artwork.
- Browsing video catalogues within apps.
- Video clips and lyrics (for Music Pass).
- Apps using features on your device. For example, your calendar may have permission to access data in the background or use location services.
- URLs/external links and navigation to other websites, apps, news, blogs, walls, maps, app stores.
- GIFs and GIF library.
- Maps and location services.
- RSS feeds.
- Software/application updates happening at the same time.
- Video and content hosted from other sites that are played in the app.
- Non-official or lite versions of the apps produced by third parties or access to the providers via a web browser instead of an app.
Are the Vodafone Pass deals good value?
They could be, but it very much depends on your usage. For services such as social and music if you're only a light user anyway, or you're on a plan with a solid data quota, there might not be much point. If you're constantly racking up excess data charges because of your mobile Netflix habits, on the other hand, they could quickly become very good value indeed.
How can I possibly know how much data my apps are using?
Your phone will actually tell you!
For iPhones, go to Settings>Mobile and you should see app data usage once you scroll down. For Android users, the location may vary depending on manufacturer and Android details a little, but it's typically in Settings>Connections or similar. For example, on a Samsung Galaxy S9+, you'd find it under Settings>Connections>Data Usage.
Compare that usage against your plan allocation, and if you're burning lots of data in that usage, a Vodafone Pass could be good value.
As always, though, it's also worth comparing your current plan (especially if you've been on it for a few years) against any new plans available, which you can do easily with our mobile phone plan finder.
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