Vodafone’s new plans give you a free iPhone – so what’s the catch?

Looking to score the iPhone 13, Samsung Galaxy S21, or Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, but put off by the $1,200+ price tag? Vodafone’s newest SIM plans can nab you a new iPhone or Samsung Galaxy phone from as little as ZERO dollars — but you’ll need to be willing to commit.

The telco has launched two SIM-only promo plans, featuring a hefty maximum-speed data allowance and unlimited speed-capped data. Pick up either plan and purchase an eligible smartphone from Vodafone in the same transaction by January 5, 2022, and you’ll receive a voucher for up to $1,200 to cover the cost of your new device.

You can use your Vodafone voucher on the newest iPhone and Samsung Galaxy phones, meaning you can potentially get a free iPhone 13 Mini or Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 with that $1,200 discount applied. But there is a catch: Vodafone’s promo plans come with either a one or two-year contract, and to get the full $1,200 off your phone you’ll need to sign on for 24 months.

What are Vodafone’s SIM Promo Plans?

Just like the now-defunct traditional phone-on-a-plan bundle, which offered a subsidised new phone to customers who stick with their plan for the full two years, Vodafone’s new SIM options also reward customers who opt for a lock-in contract. The telco has launched two 200GB SIM plans, with the following prices and terms:

  • 24-month SIM Promo Plan: $99 per month, total min. cost $2,376. Includes $1,200 handset voucher
  • 12-month SIM Promo Plan: $89 per month, total min. cost $1,068. Includes $400 handset voucher

Besides the pricing and contract term, both plans are identical. Each option gets you 200GB of full-speed data, unlimited standard talk and text to Australian numbers, and 1,000 minutes of standard international calls to eligible countries each month. You’ll also receive unlimited speed-capped data (restricted to 1.5Mbps), and the option to use your plan for tethering with other devices.

However, while the 24-month plan is priced $10 more each month, it does give you a much larger smartphone discount. Pair this plan with an included phone, and you’ll get a $1,200 handset voucher; but opt for the cheaper $89 plan over a 12-month period, and you’ll only receive a $400 device discount.

While you’ll save $10 per month each month on the 12-month plan, and won’t be locked in for a full two years, you will miss out on that $1,200 smartphone saving. That means you’ll pay $800 more for your phone upfront by going with the 12-month plan, but will save $120 on the SIM plan itself in your first year – so you’re out of pocket $680 overall.

What phones can I buy with my Vodafone voucher?

Vodafone’s handset vouchers can be used to pay for the following devices, across all available storage sizes:

  • iPhone 13 Mini (from $1,199 outright)
  • iPhone 13 (from $1,349 outright)
  • iPhone 13 Pro (from $1,699 outright)
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max (from $1,849 outright)
  • iPhone 12 (from $1,279 outright)
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 (from $2,499 outright)
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 (from $1,199 outright)
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 (from $1,249 outright)
  • Samsung Galaxy S21+ (from $1,549 outright)
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (from $1,849 outright)

If you decide to pick up a phone that costs less than the amount of your voucher — e.g. the $1,199 iPhone 13 Mini or Samsung Galaxy Z Flip — any remaining credit will be forfeited. You’ll also need to buy your phone and plan via Vodafone’s telesales lines, or in a Vodafone store, as this offer isn’t available online.

It’s also important to note that to get this offer, you’ll need to buy your chosen phone outright — not pay it off over 12, 24 or 36 months. So you’ll have to make an upfront payment for that phone’s retail price, minus the voucher discount, in the same in-store or over-the-phone transaction as you SIM plan purchase.

What happens if I cancel my plan early?

If you do want to leave your Vodafone SIM Promo plan early, be warned: early exit fees apply. You’ll be on the hook for a termination fee both for the plan itself, and for the device. Vodafone lists the SIM plan charge as 50% of your plan fees, multiplied by the months remaining in your contract; for the handset, you’ll need to pay the full voucher amount, divided by your plan term (12 or 24 months), and multiplied by the months left remaining on your contract.

So if you pick up the iPhone 13 Mini for $0 on a 24-month plan with a $1,200 discount, but leave after 12 months, you’ll need to pay a $594 fee for your plan, and a $600 fee for your device in order to cancel. Keep in mind that Vodafone’s standard SIM plans don’t come with a lock-in contract or exit fee, but customers on Vodafone handset payment plans will still need to pay the balance remaining on their phone if they decide to cancel early.

Are Vodafone’s SIM promo plans a good deal?

If you’re planning to stick with Vodafone long-term, and want to shave some major money off the price of a new premium phone, this deal can be a great way of getting a new device at a massively discounted cost. $1,200 is a significant saving, and if you’re happy with Vodafone coverage and service then committing to a full two years may be worth it to potentially get a free smartphone.

For $89 or $99 per month, you’ll get 200GB of fast data, plus unlimited talk and text and no excess data charges. However, this is noticeably more expensive than Vodafone’s standard SIM-only plan deals, which currently include 200GB for $50 per month or 300GB for $60 per month, both if you sign up by January 5, 2022. Compared to the $99 Promo plan discussed above, these options could save you between $936 and $1,176 in plan fees over 24 months.

The following table shows a selection of Vodafone postpaid plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Vodafone also offers an unlimited full-speed data plan for $85 monthly, which gives you unlimited gigabytes each month at the fastest speeds available, including 5G. This is similarly-priced to Vodafone’s $89 Promo plan, but without the 12-month contract; however, if you combine a phone with this plan, you won’t receive a device discount.

In short: depending on your choice of phone and how much data you actually need, the difference in price between Vodafone’s standard SIM plans, and its new Promo plans, could end up being close to (or more than) the $400 or $1,200 savings offered by the included handset vouchers. So if you’re weighing up which plan to go with, it pays to crunch the numbers and see which option costs you more overall.

While you won’t get an immediate discount by buying on a standard Vodafone plan (and adding a phone on a payment term), you’ll likely pay much less overall for your mobile plan — and you won’t be locked in and subject to early termination fees if you want to leave. If you’d like to see how Vodafone’s SIM plans compare, check out the below table before signing up.

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