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Vodafone Coverage Map Explained

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One of the big three telcos available in Australia, Vodafone is a global brand that has been operating in Australia since 1993 and is now part of the TPG group.

Offering a number of phone plans and services, Vodafone is often considered by phone users when it comes to choosing a provider, whether they live in the big city or a smaller country town. But just how much of Australia does Vodafone cover, and is it the telco provider for you?  In this Canstar Blue guide, we’ll cover how much of Australia is covered by the Vodafone network and whether Vodafone is the best network provider for you.

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What is network coverage?

Network coverage can be described as any area that is covered by a service provider. In terms of the telco industry, this includes areas from which you can make or receive a phone call, text message, or access the internet. As a result, the more extensive the coverage area offered by a telco provider, the more places in Australia you can call or message from.

What are black spots?

‘Black spots’ is the term given to areas that are not covered by a mobile network. These are typically rural areas where telco infrastructure isn’t supported, or where the phone signal is blocked by other structures, such as tall buildings or when you’re in an underground car park. However, the Australian government and the major telcos are working on the Mobile Black Spot Program in order to reduce the number of areas affected by limited or no service. You can find out if you’re affected by a mobile black spot here. 

Types of network coverage in Australia

With phone technology constantly evolving and improving, Australia has a number of phone networks that currently operate and keep customers connected. 3G and 4G are currently the most common and popular options, with 5G networks still being rolled out around Australia. The difference between each network coverage option is the speed on which they operate (with 4G being faster than 3G, and 5G faster than 4G), as well as how much of Australia they cover.

Vodafone network coverage
Vodafone coverage map of Australia. Sourced from Vodafone. Accurate as of November 2023.

Where does Vodafone cover in Australia?

Claiming to cover more than 96% of Australia’s population, Vodafone offers a number of network coverage options. 3G and 4G are available across most of Australia, while 5G is currently available in major cities. To get a better picture of what that sort of coverage looks like, the map above showcases which areas are covered by Vodafone’s networks across the country. The blue areas show 5G coverage, purple areas are indicative of a strong 4G presence in the cities, whereas the light green sections show only a spattering of 3G coverage as you move further inland. You can view the more detailed coverage map on the Vodafone website.

Those living further out from major cities will fall under Vodafone’s Regional Coverage, which operates on the 3G network, and will be shown on your phone as ‘Vodafone AU R’ or ‘Voda R’. It doesn’t cost any extra to connect to Vodafone’s Regional Coverage, as it is still a part of the Vodafone Australian network. It is important to note however, that Android users on the Vodafone Regional Coverage network who want to use mobile data may need to turn on data roaming to access mobile data, which may incur additional charges.

Vodafone 4G+

An upgrade on the 4G network, 4G+ utilises the LTE network (which operates on a different spectrum), offering users a quicker data experience. Covering both major cities and regional towns, Vodafone 4G+ is only compatible with more modern phones, meaning it won’t be available to everyone. However, you don’t have to do anything to switch to the 4G+ network, as Vodafone will automatically switch you over if you’re in 4G+ coverage.

Vodafone 5G

5G coverage is the highest level of coverage on a network. It provides the fastest speeds, greater network capacities and decreased network latency, making it a major upgrade from 3G and 4G. While Vodafone 5G is available in major cities, it doesn’t currently extend to regional areas. To complicate things further, your existing 4G device won’t be able to host the 5G network, so it is worth checking out 5G compatible devices, to make sure you are ready for when the 5G network rolls out across the country. It is likely that 4G+ and 5G will co-exist for some time, so there’s no need to panic about losing out on service any time soon.

What network does Vodafone use?

Vodafone uses its own network to operate. Every Australian mobile relies on either the Vodafone, Telstra or Optus network. A considerable number of mobile providers rely on the Vodafone network, making it a major network provider in Australia.

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Which other providers use the Vodafone network?

While there are plenty of telco providers within the Australian market, most of them use the networks provided by Telstra, Optus or Vodafone. Known as ‘Mobile Virtual Network Operators’ (MVNOs), these smaller telco providers ‘piggyback’ off the larger providers to offer phone plans and services. Below are the other telco providers that operate on the Vodafone network:

How does Vodafone coverage compare to Telstra & Optus?

With the Vodafone network covering 96% of the Australian population, how do the other major telcos compare? According to their websites, Telstra covers over 99% of the total Australian population, while the Optus network covers 98.5%. While coverage won’t generally be an issue for those looking to live or work in a major city, for those who spend most of their time out in rural areas of Australia, how much coverage your network offers may be the defining factor in which telco provider you decide to go with. If you’re truly going out into the sticks, check out our guide on satellite phones to see what providers can keep you connected.

Should I join the Vodafone network?

Ultimately, which provider you decide to go with will come down to your individual circumstances, including how often you’ll be using your phone, what you’ll be using your phone for and where you’ll be living. While Vodafone is one of the biggest telcos available within Australia, doing your research into what plans, phones and extras each telco provides will help you find the best option for you.

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Picture credit: MDOGAN/, FotoAndalucia/, GaudiLab/

Abi Buckland
Casual Content Producer
Abi Buckland was a content producer at Canstar Blue for almost two years until 2024, most recently in the Telco section. She is studying a Bachelor of Business Management and a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at the University of Queensland.

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