This week Vodafone plans got a refresh, with major changes focusing on improved “unlimited” data inclusions.
They aren’t actually unlimited, but…
No telco in Australia has a truly unlimited plan, but Vodafone’s new plans now come closest. You still get a primary data allowance, but once you exceed that you can continue using your service at shaped speeds starting at 2Mbps. However, the more data included in your plan, the faster your shaped service will be.
You’ll get 2Mbps speeds on Vodafone’s Lite and Lite+ plan, 10Mbps on the Super and Super+ plan, and 25Mbps on the Ultra plan. For comparison, Telstra – the only other provider with “unlimited” data – shapes services to 1.5Mbps after you go over your primary allowance.
2Mbps won’t make much of a difference compared to 1.5Mbps, but shaped speeds of 10Mbps are actually pretty decent – especially for the on the go.
10Mbps might be a bit slower than what 4G is capable of, but it’s more than fast enough for pretty much anything you’d want to do on your phone.
These kinda speeds might be a little more frustrating if you’re trying to tether your laptop to your phone, but it should still do in a pinch.
Vodafone’s new plans
Unlimited data aside, are these plans any good? Here’s how they compare to Telstra and Optus.
No-contract SIM only plans
Vodafone’s new SIM-only plans are the cheapest around thanks to a promotional discount and bonus data. If you sign up before October 13, you’ll get 30GB of data for $35 per month for your first year. You’ll pay $40 per month thereafter. You’ll keep your bonus data for the life of your contract, however. After October 13 (unless the promotion is extended) you’re looking at $40 per month for 10GB.
For comparison, Optus’ SIM-only plans start at $39 per month with 10GB, but an extra $10 per month takes your allowance to 60GB. Optus plans don’t include “unlimited” data, however.
Telstra is unsurprisingly the priciest option, with a 40GB plan billed at $55 per month. If you’re after 5G connectivity, you’ll need to step up to Telstra’s $65 per month plan with 80GB. Vodafone and Optus currently include 5G connectivity on all postpaid mobile plans as standard.
Vodafone’s best value plan is easily its 60GB plan, where you’ll pay $45 per month for your first 12 months, and $55 per month thereafter. While the plan is a little more expensive than Optus’ 60GB plan at full price, unlimited data at 10Mbps speeds if you manage to go over your allowance is a fantastic perk if you’re a heavy data user.
When it comes to international calls, both Vodafone and Optus both beat Telstra. All Optus plans worth $49 per month or more come with unlimited talk and text to 35 countries, and all Vodafone plans worth $45 per month (excluding discounts) or more include at least 100 international minutes.
International calls on Telstra will set you back an extra $10 per month.
It is of course worth remembering that Telstra has a few perks of its own, such as data-free Apple Music streaming, free live streaming of select sports, and free public WiFi through Telstra Air. Telstra customers can also get three months of free access to Binge, and a further three months by registering for Telstra’s loyalty program, Telstra Plus.
Vodafone has a perk you won’t find on any other major telcos, however: you can save up to 20% off your monthly bill if you bundle your plan with any other services. Each postpaid service after the first – including mobile, mobile broadband, tablet, and NBN – will get you a 5% discount on your bill, up to a maximum of 20% with five plans.
Plans with a phone
Vodafone’s new plans are still contract-free, even when buying a new phone. If you’re looking to grab a new phone from Vodafone, you’ll choose from one of five core plans, and then add on your handset. You can pay off your handset over 12, 24, or 36 months, interest-free, at an overall cost that ends up being roughly equal to the outright price.
Telstra and Optus both also sell phones in the same manner, but Telstra no longer offers 36-month repayment plans.
Here’s a look at how Vodafone, Telstra, and Optus plans compare when it comes to the iPhone 11, the Galaxy S20 5G, iPhone SE, and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G:
iPhone 11 plans:
Galaxy S20 5G plans:
iPhone SE plans:
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G plans:
By and large, Vodafone is the cheapest option for buying many phones on a plan right now, thanks to its promotional discounts on plans. If you sign up to a new Vodafone plan before October 13, you’ll save between $5 per month and $20 per month on your plan. While this only applies to your first 12 months on a SIM-only service, you’ll maintain the discount for the life of your plan if you grab a new phone with Vodafone.
For example, if you’re looking at an iPhone 11, you’ll pay $84.95 per month on a 24-month term with Vodafone for a plan with 30GB, or $88.95 per month on Optus for a plan with just 10GB. When it comes to the Galaxy S20 5G, you can get a 100GB plan for $97 per month on Vodafone, while Optus charges $104.43 per month for a 10GB plan.
Optus is a hair cheaper when it comes to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G, offering the phone and 10GB for $133.94 per month, but Vodafone will do 30GB for $114.54 per month.
Unsurprisingly, Telstra is consistently the most expensive option.
Vodafone vs. the rest
There’s more to the world of telco than just the big three, so the above widget compares Vodafone’s cheapest SIM-only plan to some of the more popular MVNOs around.
If you’re looking for a SIM-only plan, there are a few other standouts here. Circles.Life will sell you a 100GB plan for $28 per month for your first six months, after which you’ll pay $38 per month. This offer is available until September 30, but even at full price, it’s still a solid deal. Circles is powered by the Optus network.
Moose Mobile has its own excellent SIM-only plan, offering 35GB for $29 per month. You have to sign a 12-month contract to get this plan, however. Moose is also powered by the Optus network.
Lastly, numobile has a 30GB plan for $30 per month on the Telstra network that’s completely contract-free.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.
As Gizmodo editors we write about stuff we like and think you'll like too. Gizmodo often has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.