VOXI was launched by Vodafone in August 2017, positioned as a separate network exclusively for the younger generation. Its tariffs are reserved only for those who are age 25 or under, and all use of social media is thrown in with all deals, as are free calls and minutes.
VOXI is Vodafone’s attempt at being cool. Celebrities such as Dua Lipa and Liam Payne performed at the VOXI launch in Brick Lane, London and there are no stuffy call centres or shops – everything is done online. So, is Vodafone’s offspring down with the kids?
VOXI offers three plans, all on 30-day flexible contracts. This means you can chop and change your tariff at the end of each month and there are no long-term contracts tying you down. All tariffs come with free calls and texts as well as endless data for selected social and chat apps. You can use Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Viber and Facebook Messenger as much as you want, without eating into your 30-day data allowance.
If your main data usage focuses on social media, VOXI’s 6GB deal should suit you. Those with bigger browsing needs can get 15GB or 45GB data deals. You can also purchase an extra 1GB of data each month, as well as video and streaming passes so you can watch the likes of Netflix, YouTube and Prime Video or listen to Spotify or Apple Music without eating into your main data allowance.
If you're already a Vodafone customer, you can join VOXI immediately online. Otherwise you will be have to apply and will be sent a free SIM in the post. Either way you will need to submit ID that proves you or the intended recipient of the SIM is under 25. Customers not currently on Vodafone will need to get a PAC code to transfer their number. The network says this should only take two days but you may also need to get your phone unlocked by your current provider to use the new SIM, which could take longer.
VOXI only offers SIM-only deals. This means you will need to buy a handset separately. This will cost more upfront, but can cost less over the full contract length – depending on the phone you choose. On the upside, this means you can change your handset whenever you like. If you're looking for a tablet SIM for an iPad or Android tablet, VOXI also provides these.
When it comes to customer service, VOXI again tries to appeal to the youth by ditching the contact centre and offering social media as its main form of communication. Users can reach VOXI on webchat, Facebook Messenger or Twitter from 7am to midnight every day. It may be frustrating for some users to not be able to call up and speak to someone, but as there is no formal complaints data available for VOXI as yet, it is hard to judge its success.
In comparison, the latest Ofcom industry data from 2016 showed 89% of customers were satisfied with Vodafone’s mobile service. That may sound impressive, but it is below the average of 92%. Vodafone also had the highest number of complaints in 2016, at 92 per 100,000 customers and 45% were dissatisfied with how issues were handled – the lowest rating in the sector. The proportion of Vodafone customers with a reason to complain was higher than mobile customers overall, at 7%, compared with 4% across the industry.
VOXI is a different offering though, with totally different deals and style of service. There is already some VOXI feedback on reviews websites such as Trustpilot. At the time of writing it had a score of three out of five, with users happy with the deals, but some complaints about the speed and transparency of the service, and how long it takes to transfer numbers.
Social media has the ability to make a fair old dent in your data. If you are a regular tweeter or have several WhatsApp groups on the go, getting all this thrown in is good value. VOXI also offers extras such as free phone cases and a 'friends with benefits' scheme: if you invite a friend to join VOXI and they do, you’ll both get a £10 Amazon.co.uk gift card as long as you have both paid your first two bills.
The network will also let you tether another mobile device or tablet to your phone, tablet or MiFi device, and enjoy the endless data from the apps included in your passes. However, tethering to other devices such as your games console, TV, or through a smart device such as Chromecast, Roku, or Fire TV Stick, is not included.
The deals themselves are up there with the best prices on the market and offer the flexibility of 30-day contracts. There may not be unlimited data overall, but it would take a while to use up the mid and top-range 10GB and 30GB deals, especially as your social media is already covered.
You get the same coverage on VOXI as you do on the whole Vodafone 4G network. Vodafone’s mobile coverage has won industry awards in the UK and it also extends to 120 destinations abroad. There is a coverage checker on the VOXI website that will tell you how good your coverage will be both indoors and outdoors based on where you live. You can also check coverage in European destinations.
You may well get the wide coverage that is enjoyed by all Vodafone customers, but there are some limits. You can only become a VOXI customer if you are 25 years old or under. When activating your VOXI SIM card, you will be asked for identification to confirm your age.
Parents or guardians can set up a VOXI account for someone under 25 and manage it on their behalf, which does raise the question as to how this will be policed as a youth brand. Customers can only have one VOXI account and one active VOXI SIM card, but can have other Vodafone products.
Going for the under-25s is an interesting ploy by Vodafone to essentially get a customer base secured early on. VOXI aims to do things differently, with a focus on social media in its plans and online-only customer service. The 30-day deals are well priced and flexible, but you will need to purchase your own handset separately or use an existing one.
Creating a network just for the under-25s gives VOXI a bit of an edge and may sound cool, but it is the older age groups who tend to have the money and in many cases, it will be the parents paying for their kids. Plus, separating social media from data usage isn’t that new; Virgin Media lets users of all ages go on Facebook Messenger, Twitter and WhatsApp as part of their plans without eating into their allowance, regardless of the customer's age.
Being part of Vodafone gives users a guarantee of decent signal, but VOXI's novel social-based customer service system is yet to be proven.
It’s early days, but if you already have a handset and just need a flexible SIM-only deal (and if you are lucky enough to still be in the under 25 cohort), or if you are a parent looking for a good deal for your teenager, this is worth looking at.
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