Vodafone mobile review 2021
By Marc Shoffman | Tuesday, April 13th 2021
Vodafone offers a range of contract, SIM-only and pay-as-you-go tariffs as well as a number of smart devices. There are also neat extras such as free Spotify subscriptions and the VeryMe Reward scheme offering exclusive discounts and prizes to customers.
Vodafone’s rollout of 5G is continuing apace, and its 4G coverage is excellent with plenty of unlimited data options available. So what else does Vodafone offer and what makes it stand out from the crowd? We take a look.
Tariffs and plans
All Vodafone’s handset pay monthly contracts last 24 months, but there is plenty of choice on offer. Choose from two tariffs: the Red tariff or the Unlimited tariff. The Red tariff offers data allowances from 2GB to 100Gb with the options to bolt on the Entertainment package – choose from YouTube Premium, Spotify or Amazon Prime to add to your package. Your chosen product is included free for the duration of your 24-month contract. All Vodafone's pay monthly plans come with free virus protection for the first three months.
The Unlimited tariff does exactly what it says on the tin – comes with unlimited data. You can choose from three speed options: 2Mbps, 10Mbps or the fastest speed available. All Vodafone’s plans are 5G-ready, so if you live in an area already connected to 5G, you could be looking at a maximum download speed of 200Mbps. As with the Red plans, you can add Entertainment to your package and choose from one of the three options of Spotify, YouTube Premium or Amazon Prime.
Vodafone’s SIM-only deals arrive in the form of 24-month, 12-month or 30-day contracts and all include unlimited texts and a range of data deals. If you're prepared to sign up to a 24-month SIM-only deal, you get more choice of data, texts and calls.
As with the pay monthly options, Vodafone offers both Unlimited and Red plans with the option to choose an Entertainment extra with its SIM-only deals. However, unlike its pay monthly options, not all the SIM-only deals are 5G-ready.
Vodafone was the best network in terms of free roaming destinations covered. However, as of January 31 2022 it has begun charging for roaming via a tiered (or 'zoned' system). Zone A: the Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man. No roaming charges apply. Zone B: 49 destinations, most of which are in Europe and are EU member states. For anyone with a Vodafone Pay Monthly plan that started on or after 11 August 2021, roaming costs £2 a day. Zone C: 32 destinations, from Australia and Barbados to the US and South Africa. For anyone with a Vodafone Pay Monthly plan that started on or after 11 August 2021, roaming costs £6 a day. Zone D: 75 destinations, from Afghanistan and Argentina to Uzbekistan and Vietnam. For anyone with a Vodafone Pay Monthly plan that started on or after 11 August 2021, roaming costs £6 a day.
Vodafone also offers pay-as-you-go bundles that roll over unused data, minutes and texts to the next 30-day period.
The standard out-of-bundle rates for PAYG cost just £1 per day. This gives you unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 50MB of data. And if you don’t use any of these services on a particular day, you won’t be charged at all.
PAYG customers can also benefit from Vodafone’s VeryMe Rewards, as long as you top up a minimum of £10 every six weeks.
Phone and device range
Vodafone offers a strong choice of brands including Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Motorola and Google Pixel. Some networks only offer the biggest brands and the latest models, but Vodafone offers handsets from smaller, more affordable brands, such as Doro, Fairphone, TCL and Alcatel.
There are a couple of brands missing from its range, such as LG and the OnePlus phone (which is exclusive to 02) but there is still an excellent range to choose from.
Vodafone may offer lots of choice of tariffs and handsets, but it falls down the pecking order when it comes to customer service. The latest Ofcom data shows it had the second most complaints per 100,000 customers, with 26, and that 48% were unhappy at how issues were handled – the second worst rating of all the providers included in the survey. In both aspects Vodafone was outranked only by Virgin Media mobile.
Satisfaction levels overall are slightly on the low side with Vodafone at 89%, compared with 93% across the sector. The proportion of Vodafone customers with a reason to complain was just 3% – reflecting the average across the sector.
There are plenty of ways to get in touch with Vodafone if you do have issues. You can visit any one of its branches across the UK, use live chat online, get in touch via social media, or post your query on a customer forum. Its phone lines are also open 24/7, where Ofcom data shows you will find waiting times of 1 minute and 4 seconds. This isn’t the worst waiting time and is just above the average of one minute in the sector.
Value for money
Vodafone may not be the cheapest network on the market, but you do get lots of good extras, especially with the Entertainment plans that come with a free subscription to Spotify, YouTube Premium or Amazon Prime.
There are also options to trade in your old handset from any network, which can reduce your upfront costs, while both pay-as-you-go users and pay monthly customers can enjoy the benefit of Vodafone’s VeryMe Rewards, which offers regular discounts, giveaways and prize draws from some major brands.
Vodafone also offers more than just handsets, by offering its range of Smart Tech. Choose from Neo, a smart watch for kids; Curve, a smart GPS tracker; or the V-Pet GPS tracker so you can track down your escapee pet with ease. There is also a wide range of the latest smart watches to choose from, including Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy watches, and accessories including Apple AirPods, Samsung Galaxy Buds and Google Home products.
Existing mobile customers can benefit from various special discounts, including 15% off an additional mobile plan, or a discount when signing up to Vodafone broadband with the Vodafone Together plan.
Vodafone has excellent 4G coverage across the UK and its 5G network is slowly growing. Although not as advanced as that of EE, Vodafone’s 5G signal is now available in 100 locations across the UK, as well as almost 200 in Europe.
If you are in a major UK city, you are more likely to get a decent 4G signal with Vodafone. Ofcom datashows that 86% of Vodafone users are happy with their mobile reception, which is level with average of 86% in the sector. If you want to be sure it is worth consulting Vodafone’s coverage checker, which will reveal how good its basic 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G signal is based on your postcode both indoors and outdoors.
Vodafone offers a decent variety of deals for contract, pay-as-you-go and SIM-only fans. It offers a wide range of data options, including several Unlimited plans, as well as many 5G-ready options.
If you are willing to pay a bit extra, you can also get an Entertainment extra such as a subscription to Spotify, YouTube Premium or Amazon Prime, and both pay as you go users and pay monthly customers can enjoy Vodafone’s VeryMe reward scheme.
The pricing overall isn’t the cheapest, but you can also earn yourself a bit of money back by trading in your old handset when setting up a Vodafone deal.
The network is doing its best to tackle customer service issues and this has resulted in an improvement in recent Ofcom surveys.
Industry data suggests you get good mobile signal with Vodafone, so if the customer service issues can be ironed out, this network is worth considering.