Vodafone mobile plans review

Don't count out Australia's third largest network provider

Vodafone storefront
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Despite its network falling short of Telstra and Optus in terms of size, Vodafone has made great strides when it comes to 5G availability, meaning customers stay connected to its 5G network for longer. We also like that Vodafone's Aussie plans are all reasonably priced and offer more data than the competition. That said, Vodafone's coverage lags behind the other major telcos, particularly outside of major Australian cities.


  • +

    Plans offer loads of data

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    Reasonable pricing

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    Discounts for bundled services


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    Weak coverage outside of major cities

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    Slowest average 5G download speeds

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Of the three major network operators in Australia, Vodafone arguably offers the best bang for your buck, with reasonably-priced post-paid and pre-paid options that typically provide plenty of data.

Surprisingly, Vodafone is the only telco of the big three to give customers a discounted rate for bundling a mobile plan with one of its NBN services, making it a good choice for those looking to bring down monthly costs.

That said, Vodafone's mobile network comes in third behind Telstra and Optus in terms of size, resulting in far less 4G and 5G reach than its competitors once you venture outside of Australia's major cities.

Despite this, Vodafone is still able to provide decent 5G coverage in areas where a larger competitor like Optus has yet to make any ground.

It's also the slowest of the three mobile networks, with 5G download speeds half as fast as Telstra and Optus on average, according to a recent report from OpenSignal. That said, the telco has made strides in other areas.

Vodafone also deserves praise for its Hobart-based customer support centre, along with having around 250 physical stores across the country for those who prefer face-to-face service.

Vodafone mobile plans and pricing

  • Vodafone SIM-only plans on-par with Optus pricing
  • Vodafone plans include more data than rivals

If a SIM-only plan's value is judged primarily on the amount of data included, Vodafone easily takes the crown. 

For instance, Vodafone's top-level 'Large' plan (AU$69 p/m, or AU$0.19 per GB) offers the same amount of data (360GB p/m) as the Optus 'Extra Large' plan  (AU$89 p/m, or AU$0.25 per GB), despite being AU$20 cheaper per month.

Likewise, Vodafone's 'Medium' plan (AU$59 p/m, or AU$0.33 per GB) offers the same amount of data (180GB p/m) as Telstra's equivalent mid-level plan (AU$72 p/m, or AU$0.40 per GB), and still manages to be cheaper than Telstra's entry-level option (AU$62 p/m, or AU$0.34 per GB), which only provides a measly 50GB monthly data allowance.

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Vodafone mobile plans: price and data comparison
Plan sizeVodafoneOptusTelstra
SmallAU$49 / 50GBAU$49 / 30GBAU$62 / 50GB
MediumAU$59 / 180GBAU$59 / 100GBAU$72 / 180GB
LargeAU$69 / 360GBAU$69 / 220GBAU$95 / 300GB
X-LargeRow 3 - Cell 1 AU$89 / 360GBRow 3 - Cell 3

Of course, 50GB p/m will likely be enough for most people, which is what's included with Vodafone's 'Small' plan, priced at AU$49 p/m (or AU$0.98 per GB).

While that's not great value compared to the amount of data offered by Vodafone's other plans, it still gets you 20GB more per month than what's offered by the entry-level Optus plan, also priced at AU$49 p/m (or AU$0.61 per GB).

As for inclusions, all of Vodafone's SIM-only plans provide unlimited standard national calls and text, unlimited standard minutes from Australia to Zone 1 territories, and 300 minutes from Australia to Zone 2 territories. There are also no lock-in contracts, which is great.

Download speeds are uncapped within your monthly download limit, after which they will slow down to 2Mbps (or as Vodafone puts it, enough to stream music, stream standard definition video, make video calls, browse the internet and use social media).

If post-paid plans are not your bag, Vodafone also offers a range of Prepaid Plus plans with a 28-day expiry period. In terms of benefits, you can save AU$5 per recharge when you opt-in to Automatic Recharge. You also get to bank up to 200GB of unused data so long as you recharge before the end of your expiry period.

Vodafone's most affordable option is the AU$30 Prepaid Plus Starter Pack, which gets you 20GB of data per 28 days. Currently, there's also an offer for new customers which provides double data (20GB + 20GB) on the first three recharges, after which the monthly data allowance goes back to normal.

This is followed by the AU$40 Prepaid Plus Starter Pack with 30GB of data per 28 days. This one is currently on sale for new customers, priced at AU$20 for the first three recharges. Like the previous option, you also get double data (30GB + 30GB) during that initial promotional period.

The third and final option with a standard 28-day expiry period is a AU$50 Prepaid Plus Starter Pack, which typically comes with 45GB of data. That's bumped up to 80GB for new customers on their first three recharges.

Alternatively, Vodafone also offers a AU$250 Prepaid Plus Starter Pack with a 365-day expiry period. Usually, this plan only offers 150GB of data, however, a current promotion (ending on April 9, 2024) gets you 90GB of bonus data for a total of 240GB.

Please note, Vodafone will be changing up its prepaid plan structure from April 10, 2024. We will update you on the changes once they've happened.

Vodafone mobile coverage

  • Good metropolitan coverage, but weak outside of major cities
  • Awarded best 5G availability by OpenSignal

Vodafone operates the third-largest mobile network in Australia behind Telstra and Optus, which means you can expect its 4G and 5G coverage to reflect that fact. 

That's not to say that Vodafone's coverage is bad — the telco claims to reach 96% of Australia's 'metropolitan' population (note the precise wording), which is no small feat. However, you will likely notice a steep drop in reach once you move beyond the major cities dotted around our great southern land. 

Thankfully, Darwin is counted amongst those metropolitan areas, and we're happy to report that Vodafone does offer 5G in the Top End, according to nPerf's independent coverage maps — an achievement that rival Optus has yet to tackle.

Unfortunately, a recent report from OpenSignal has revealed that Vodafone offers the slowest 5G download speeds of the three major telcos, with average speeds that are around half as fast as what Telstra and Optus customers are getting.

Despite this, Vodafone has taken out the 5G availability award in that same report, meaning its customers are able to maintain a 5G connection for longer than those on the Telstra or Optus network.

Vodafone mobile plans: Extras, perks and offers

  • Discounted rates for bundled services
  • Excellent international roaming add-on

Despite Telstra and Optus being Australia's two biggest telecommunications companies, it's somewhat surprising that only Vodafone gives customers a reduced rate for bundling multiple services.

For instance, Vodafone customers who sign up to two eligible plans (of AU$30 p/m or more) on the same account, be it phone, tablet or modem-based, are entitled to a 5% 'Bundle & Save' discount on the overall bill.

Not only that, but the discount amount will go up by 5% for each additional service, maxing out at a 20% total discount for five or more bundled plans. 

In other words, bundling your family's mobile phone plans with your home internet bill should save you a significant chunk of change. You could even throw in a PS5 console for AU$22.22 p/m on a 36-month plan, so long as you have at least one mobile and one NBN plan on your account.

Aside from the discounts listed above, Vodafone mobile customers can also take advantage of the company's global reach with one of the best international roaming add-ons you can get — for just AU$5 per day, you can access your usual data allowance in over 100 countries, which we think is unbeatable. And if you do go over your monthly limit, additional gigabytes are just AU$5.

Vodafone mobile plans: customer service and community reviews

  • Call centre support teams primarily based in Australia
  • Predominantly negative online reviews from customers

Vodafone operates in 65 countries across the globe, so you'd be forgiven for assuming that it would mostly use off-shore call centres. In fact, Vodafone Australia's main contact centre is based in Hobart.

However, while the aforementioned contact centre does help people on consumer plans, it's primarily focused on helping business customers. So if you don't manage to get through to the Australian support team, you may end up speaking to someone in an overseas location.

Luckily, Vodafone does have a significant retail presence Down Under, with over 250 physical stores to visit if you'd prefer to solve your matter in-person.

Still, Vodafone has its share of irate customers, based on the online reviews on sites such as Product Review, where it scored 1.5 out of 5, and Trustpilot, where it earned a score of 1.3 out of 5. 

As always, it's important to remember that customers will rarely take to the time to post online comments about a company when they are happy, but are more than willing to leave a scathing review when they're inconvenienced.

Vodafone mobile plans: Bottom line

There's no denying that Telstra and Optus outshine Vodafone when it comes to coverage and download speeds. However, it mostly makes up for its lack of reach with its value-packed plans.

Looking for a mobile plan that offers truckloads of data at a reasonable price? That's where Vodafone shines, with plans that offer significantly more data than its two main rivals. On top of this, you'll receive discounted services if you bundle more than one eligible plan on the same account, which is a great option for families.

And, if you happen to spend most of your time within Australia's major metropolitan cities, you probably won't encounter many coverage issues. That said, if you do reside in one of Australia's more remote regions, you're probably better off going with Telstra or Optus.

Stephen Lambrechts

Stephen Lambrechts is the Managing Editor of Tom's Guide AU and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming for the last 15 years. Before Tom's Guide, he spent several years as a Senior Journalist at TechRadar, had a brief stint as Editor in Chief at Official Xbox Magazine Australia, and has written for such publications as APC, TechLife Australia, T3, FilmInk, AskMen, Daily Telegraph and IGN. He's an expert when it comes to smartphones, TVs, gaming and streaming. In his spare time, he enjoys watching obscure horror movies on physical media, keeping an eye on the latest retro sneaker releases and listening to vinyl. Occasionally, he also indulges in other non-hipster stuff, like hiking.