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Vodafone is one of the UK’s major mobile network operators, boasting the second fastest 4G and a 21% share of the mobile market.
At a glance
|The good:||The bad:|
|Large selection of pay monthly contracts and SIM only deals||Prices at the more expensive end of the scale|
|Get a subscription to Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, or YouTube with with Red Entertainment packages||None of their plans offer unlimited data|
|Free data roaming in 152 countries worldwide||Customer service could be improved|
|Variety of special offers and freebies available with VeryMe Rewards app|
|Upgrade your handset after just 6 months with Flexi-upgrade|
Choice of handsets – Including trade-in discounts
Select handsets from mainstream manufacturers like Apple and Samsung and more niche devices like those from Motorola and Vodafone itself. All handsets are available on 24-month contracts, but you have the choice of three tiers of tariffs. The cheapest Essential plans offer the lowest data allowances. You’ll need to upgrade to a more expensive Red Extra or Red Entertainment plan to clear 1GB a month. But those plans also come with perks. You get unlimited minutes with Red Extra and that plus a complimentary 24-month subscription to an entertainment service - either Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, NOW TV, or Sky Sports - with Red Entertainment. Most of Vodafone’s handset contracts, especially for flagship devices, come with upfront charges. But you can trade in your old handset, no matter what network you bought it from, to reduce these initial fees.
SIM only offerings from Vodafone
Don’t need a new phone? You can also get SIMs from Vodafone on 12-month or 30-day rolling contracts. You can also buy pay-as-you-go bundles for these SIMS, which roll over unused minutes, messages, and MBs to the next month. When you do top up your SIM, you can earn reward points, which can be redeemed for phone accessories, shopping vouchers, and once you have enough, even a new mobile phone.
Vodafone network coverage
Vodafone offers 4G services accessible to 99% of the UK population. That includes coverage of 79% of outdoor areas and 94% of indoor premises. And that 4G is the second fastest in the UK, after EE’s, with average download speeds of 24.3 Megabits per second (Mbps). And its 4G is available to Vodafone customers 83.4% of the time - third out of the four major mobile operators in the UK, but just a hair behind O2.
Despite the speed of its network, just 87% of Vodafone customers report being satisfied with the reception and signal strength they get, leaving Vodafone tied for fifth in Ofcom’s ranking of the seven largest mobile phone providers.
Vodafone customer service
Customer service is where Vodafone has traditionally faltered, but the network has made improvements in recent years. While it frequently ranked last among the seven largest providers in Ofcom’s customer satisfaction tracker, in the most recent figures it performed level with industry averages, satisfying 93% of its customers. Ofcom also found that Vodafone received eight complaints per 100,000 customers in the third quarter of 2018. That was above the industry average of four per 100,000 customers, but significantly better than Vodafone has performed in the past - in 2016 and 2017, it received 24 and 17 complaints respectively per 100,000 subscribers.
Vodafone is clearly making strides in its customer service, and its 4G network is quick and reliable. You might find cheaper mobile tariffs elsewhere, but the perks available with the higher data allowances on Red Entertainment make a contract with Vodafone a compelling buy.