One of few telecommunications companies in Australia which has a truly global presence, Vodafone entered the local mobile phone market in the 1990s and has since become one of the biggest providers around. The key to its success is that Vodafone owns its very own mobile network infrastructure, which allows it to provide mobile services across the country. But does that mean Vodafone actually offers the best-value plans on its own network?
Vodafone also sells the use of its network to third-party mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). These smaller service providers may lack the people and marketing power of Vodafone, but with low overheads they are able to provide competitive SIM-only phone plans with equally reliable coverage. That’s why we’ve gathered together the best-value providers operating on the Vodafone network to make choosing your next mobile plan a little bit easier.
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What mobile providers use the Vodafone network?
There are numerous phone providers that piggyback off the Vodafone network in Australia, the most prominent of which are:
Source: Respective provider websites
There are a whole heap of plans to choose from that make use of the much-improved Vodafone network. Starting prices vary wildly, and you’ll need to look past price alone to see what you actually get for your money. The four providers listed above are arguably the more popular MVNOs on the Vodafone network and the competition is pretty tight.
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Kogan Mobile is the online retailer’s latest venture into the digital world, having already evolved its core business from an electronics store to a massive general department store. Kogan Mobile’s plans are all prepaid and come with 4G connectivity and unlimited calls and texts. There are four varieties to choose from:
- The Small plan, with 1GB of data for $16.90
- The Medium plan with 5GB of data for $29.90
- The Large plan with 10GB for $36.90
- The XL plan with a massive 14GB for $49.90
All plans come with unlimited standard calls and texts, and can be subscribed to on a 30-day, 90-day or 365-day plan length. So, in effect there are a total of 12 different plan options to choose from, and you are rewarded for your loyalty if you commit to a longer period. Think of it as like buying in bulk at the grocery store – it nearly always works out cheaper. This type of plan structure is unusual in Australia, which probably adds to the appeal for Kogan customers. So just to recap, Kogan is a leader because it has:
- Comprehensive plan structures with plenty of options
- The convenience of buying year-long mobile recharge if desired
- A strong value proposition with big data offers
Here’s a snapshot of what Kogan Mobile has to offer, and you can see the savings committing to the Small plan over 90 days:
One of Australia’s biggest home broadband providers, TPG now offers a selection of competitive prepaid mobile phone plans on the Vodafone 4G network. There are six plans available, and all are available on no contract terms, with the cheapest of the bunch costing just $1. However, what you get for your buck is quite meagre – just 50mb of data and PAYG call and text rates; the end result could in fact be a hefty phone bill next time it rolls around.
The cheapest unlimited deal is just under $30 a month and you get 3GB as well. TPG’s biggest plan consists of 10GB data for $39.99, and is in fact the cheapest prepaid plan to offer 10GB. If that’s not value then we don’t know what is. If you find yourself needing more data, TPG charges you 10c per MB – but billed on a per KB basis to maximise your data usage. In summary, TPG are leaders because of:
- Simple, easy to compare plans
- Limited time sign-up offers
- Strong data allowance for price points
Here are TPG’s prepaid plans for your consideration…
A mobile service provider across several countries, Lebara offers just four prepaid plans in Australia, in addition to specific international call plans and data packs. Its big calling card is its international minute inclusions, making Lebara a great choice for Aussies with friends or family overseas.
Lebara’s base plan offers $24.90 value for $24.90 per month. While this seems lackluster, you also have to consider the fact you get up to 1000 minutes calling to selected countries. If you’re still homesick or missing your Italian boyfriend who has gone back home to his parents, then this plan could be up your alley.
The other three plans ramp up the value on the domestic-front. They all feature unlimited calls and texts (national ones). For $29.90 you’ll get 5GB data, for $39.90 you’ll get 7GB data, and for $49.90 you’ll get 5GB data, but this one also packs in unlimited calls to 60 countries. Lebara has a concise range of plans that offer a good compromise between data and international calls and texts – if your mindset is a bit more international, Lebara could be for you. In summary, Lebara is great for:
- Strong value local and international calls inclusions
- Good plan options based on call and data allowances
- Aussies with family overseas
Take a look at Lebara’s plans:
What comparison of phone plans on the Vodafone network would be complete without a close look at the Big Red itself? Vodafone has shaken off the image problems of the past and become a force to be reckoned with Down Under. Not only does it provide great value prepaid and post-paid plans, but it’s also at the forefront of plan innovation, including its very popular $5 Roaming deal whereby customers get the same plan inclusions from overseas at an extra cost of just $5 per day.
SIM-only, month to month plans:
In terms of its SIM-only month to month plans, Vodafone brings five solid offers to the table costing between $35 and $60 a month. Each plan offers unlimited national calls and SMS, with data allowances ranging from a relatively modest 1.5GB up to a significant 11GB.
Like Lebara, Vodafone offers plans that compromise data for increased international calls and texts. By sacrificing 2GB of data, you’ll in turn get 300 minutes to selected countries, plus 1000 minutes to selected ‘Super 1000’ countries. Here’s a more detailed rundown. Vodafone also has over 30 plans outside of the SIM-only, month to month range, and it’s worth having a look at them all because chances are there’s one lying around that’s right for you. In summary, Vodafone excels because:
- It has a good mix of plans with data inclusions to suit light and heavy mobile users
- Plans provide access to Vodafone’s $5 Roaming feature
- Strong value proposition particularly for mid-range plans
Make your mind up for yourself…
Plans on the Vodafone Network: How do they compare?
It’s all well and good looking at what each telco has to offer, but it’s not until you determine which provider can offer the best value for you that you can determine who the winner is. So let’s compare them together, to see which company on the Vodafone network reigns supreme.
Plans under $25 compared
There are several plans that we have mentioned earlier that fall into this category. Each has its own unique selling points, and all are on a prepaid basis. TPG offers more data, but Kogan offers unlimited calls and texts, and is the cheapest overall. Both TPG and Lebara have rather annoying setup fees, but the latter has hefty international inclusions. It’s all a much of a muchness, but we suspect the pick here would be Kogan, with no setup fees and unlimited calls and texts. Nevertheless, there’s a case for all of the providers.
Plans under $40 compared
There is a much stronger showing in this price bracket from all accounts. TPG and Lebara seem to lead the way in terms of presence, and the former leads the way with 10GB of data. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the three MVNOs here, and again, each has its own unique selling points.
This is in contrast with Vodafone, who in the SIM-only, no contract sector, falls a bit behind with only 1.5GB for $35. However, if you explore the prepaid or contract sectors, you’ll see that Vodafone comes into play with some strong plans indeed. Here, you might find that going outside of the no-contract sector can get you better value.
Plans under $60 compared
This is another case of Vodafone offering better value outside of the no contract segment. If you’re willing to commit to 12 months, Vodafone generally treats you with generous data allowances plus other bonuses from time to time. Kogan Mobile and Lebara are generally cheaper for equivalent plans, however, and again, all have their own selling points. For all-out data, Kogan’s XL plan is a sound option, and for international inclusions, Lebara is again a winner here. Vodafone offers superior bonuses, but you also tend to pay more.
What plan is the best deal?
As with the other major telcos (Telstra and Optus), Vodafone the company is by no means the only way to access Vodafone the network. Beyond the four providers reviewed above, there are a few others that may be worth a look into:
With a wide variety of providers to pick from – some with funky names – there really is an abundance of options if you love your Vodafone network service. From our review, it’s clear that each of the providers has some unique selling points, whether it’s:
- A solid all-rounder, with no setup fees (Kogan)
- Good international call inclusions (Lebara)
- The simplicity of big data at low prices (TPG)
- Or additional incentives and bonuses, a wider variety of plans (Vodafone)
It’s all about what you desire in a phone plan, but in summary, every provider excels in something different, so it can pay to compare them all.