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Vodafone Shakes Up Its PAYG Tariff


Vodafone has become the latest mobile provider to overhaul its pay-as-you-go service, leaving many customers facing huge potential bill increases.

Charges on its popular Pay As You Go 1 tariff, its more traditional PAYG service, will change from 12 January 2021.

Currently users pay 20p for each voice call to standard UK numbers, landlines and voice; texts to standard UK numbers; multimedia messages to standard UK numbers; and 5MB of data. Once their £1 daily spend cap is reached, they unlock unlimited minutes, texts, multimedia messages and 500MB data to use until midnight that day.

From January, PAYG1 customers will face a £1 charge every day they send a single text, make a call or use any data. That £1 will then buy them unlimited voices calls to standard numbers, unlimited texts, unlimited multimedia messages and 50MB of data to use until midnight.

Customers who use their mobile phones only sparingly will see huge bill increases, including charges of £1 for a single text message or call, if it’s the only one they send or make that day.

PAYG1 customers will also see their web browsing significantly curtailed, with £1 buying just 50MB of data a day instead of 500MB. Visiting just a few websites can eat through that 50MB allowance.

Vodafone seems to be pushing PAYG customers to its Big Value Bundle PAYG tariffs, which give you packages of text, voice minutes and data to be used for 30 days. The operator is currently running a promotion offering five times as much data as you’d normally get with the bundles for the same price. For instance, it’s £10 entry-level bundle comes with 15GB of data, up from 3GB, alongside unlimited texts and 250 voice minutes. These offers will be available until 15 January 2021.

In shaking up PAYG charges and pushing customers to bundles, Vodafone is following competitors Virgin Mobile and O2, which made similar changes last year.

O2 closed its classic PAYG service for new customers in November 2019, while expanding its range of bundles. That same month Virgin Mobile introduced a new pricing model for thousands of its existing PAYG customers, leaving them subject to charges of up to £6 a day for sending a single text message, using just 1MB of data and making one short call.

Customers looking for a true PAYG tariff will need to look to Three. Its PAYG tariff charges 3p/min for calls, 2p a text and 1p/MB of data, no bundles required.

Meanwhile, Vodafone is also reducing the amount of time a SIM can stay inactive before it’s disconnected. Currently, your Vodafone SIM becomes inactive if you haven’t made a made, sent a text, used any data, topped up or purchased a bundle in the last 270 days. That will now fall to 180 days. Vodafone will alert customers after 90 days of inactivity and then 45 days before their SIM is due to be disconnected.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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