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Vodafone pay-as-you-go review

Vodafone pay-as-you-go tariffs let you pay for calls, texts and data in advance. You’re not tied into a contract and you can cancel whenever you like without paying a penny. The SIM cards are free and minimum top-up is £5.

Vodafone rewards you with plenty of extras every time you top up, from extra data and minutes to free subscriptions to Now TV or Spotify. But what is the coverage like and how does it compare to other providers?

Cable.co.uk overall rating

Vodafone is a popular mobile provider that offers a wide range of mobile plans. However, its basic pay-as-you-go rates are quite steep in comparison to Three and giffgaff. The upside comes in the form of Vodafone's unique Freebie system of topping up your credit; if you opt in to this you get free minutes, texts and data on top of your credit.

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Coverage & data speed



Vodafone’s 3G network currently covers 96% of the UK population. Although it’s widespread, it still lags behind EE. It can also be quite patchy in some areas. However, you should be able to call and text in most parts of the country.

Its 4G coverage covers 95% of the UK. Signal quality will depend on your location and device. You can check Vodafone’s coverage by using the coverage checker on its website.

According to Ofcom, Vodafone’s average speeds are quite fast in comparison to Three and O2. Its 3G download speed came to 7Mbps and its 4G download speed stood at 20Mbps. These speeds will comfortably enable you to stream music and videos.

3G coverage
4G coverage
Average 3G speed*
7Mbps *
Average 4G speed*
20Mbps *
Call allowance
Bundles; or 30p per minute
Text allowance
Bundles; or 14p per text
Data allowance
Bundles; or £2 for 50MB per day
PAYG handsets
*According to Ofcom
Prices from
3G coverage 96%
4G coverage 95%
Average 3G speed* 7Mbps *
Average 4G speed* 20Mbps *
Call allowance Bundles; or 30p per minute
Text allowance Bundles; or 14p per text
Data allowance Bundles; or £2 for 50MB per day
PAYG handsets Yes
Prices from Free
*According to Ofcom

Scroll horizontally for more information.

Data usage



With Vodafone pay-as-you-go, data is charged at £2 per day and usage is limited to 50MB per day. If you go over this limit you’ll be charged 10p per extra megabyte. If you need more data, you can buy a Freebie Data top-up, which specifically gives you extra free data as well as more credit in your account. For £10 you'll get an extra 500MB, and for £20 you'll get an extra 1GB. Alternatively, you can go for one of the Big Value Bundles, which come with up to 6GB of extra data, as well as minutes and texts. Plus, if you purchase the £30 bundle you'll get an extra 500MB of data, 100 minutes and 100 texts for roaming.

Vodafone Freebies last for 30 days. You can get a Freebie by calling 4356 free from your mobile. It will automatically renew every month unless you call 2345 to opt out, so you can effectively switch tariffs month to month without any extra cost.

Calls & texts



Vodafone’s pay-as-you-go tariffs are quite pricey in comparison to other providers. To make a call it costs 30p per minute and 14p to send a text. If you do a lot of texting it may be worth getting Freebie Texts. You can get either 1,000 texts for £10,or unlimited texts for £20. If you make a lot of calls, you can get Freebie Minutes. For £10 you can get an extra 150 minutes or 500 minutes for £20.

You can also make international calls from 1.5p per minute on the pay-as-you-go Freebie International. You get up to 240 free international minutes on top of your credit. To opt in for a Freebie, call 4356 free from your Vodafone mobile or log in to your Vodafone account online.

Extra features



If you take out a standard pay-as-you-go SIM deal you won’t get any extras. However you’ll get plenty of extras if you opt for a Freebie. As well as extra minutes, texts and data, you’ll receive Freebie Reward points. You can use these points to get instant goodies, including extra minutes, vouchers, free music and 2-for-1 entry to some events.

If you save your points you can use them to claim bigger rewards such as a new phone or Vodafone store vouchers.

You can even claim a free Now TV Pass, a subscription to Spotify Premium, or Sky Sports Mobile TV. All are limited to 30 days. Note that these extras are only compatible with specific devices. Vodafone’s website has more information about these.

Value for money



Vodafone’s standard pay-as-you-go rates are pretty steep in comparison to other providers like giffgaff and Three. Calls costs 30p per minute, texts cost 14p each and mobile data costs £2 per day (up to 50MB). Thereafter you’ll be charged 10p per MB. However, you can make your credit go further by going for a pay-as-you-go Freebie. Depending on the Freebie you choose, you’ll get extra minutes, texts and data on top of your credit allowance.

The minimum top-up is £5 and the maximum is £50. You can top up online, by phone, text, or at a cash machine. You can also set up an automatic top-up service. This will automatically top up your account every week or month.

Vodafone has several pay-as-you-go phones to choose from. These include the iPhone 6, HTC One, Samsung Galaxy J3 and the Sony Xperia M4. To see the full list, visit Vodafone’s website.

Overall Rating


Vodafone’s standard pay-as-you-go rates are more expensive than those of Three and giffgaff. However, if you opt for a Freebie you’ll get extra minutes, texts and data on top of your credit allowance. You can also claim Reward points and use them to get vouchers, free credit or a new phone.

Get Vodafone pay-as-you-go

Comments (1)

Ina Dau
23rd November 2016

Well I topped up with £40 to use for the phone alone. However, vodafone changed it it into a bundle worth £30 and £10 for the phone. They also threatened to charge my VISA card again for another bundle in a month's time. Needless to say that the phone number they give you to cancel the bundle does *not* give you this option. I don't think I shall stick with Vodafone.

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