Vodafone is a mobile network that was launched on 1 January 1985 but did not introduce its well-known Speechmark logo until 1997. The name Vodafone stands for voice data fone and it operates in over 30 countries. In fact, Vodafone is the world’s largest mobile telecommunications company measured by revenues and the world’s second-largest measured by subscribers. In 2010, it had about 341 million proportionate subscribers and a turnover of over £44 billion while it employed 85,000 people.
Unfortunately, Vodafone has recently attracted criticism for its tax avoidance in the UK where it has refused to pay about £6 billion of tax owed to the British Government. Vodafone have also admitted assisting the corrupt totalitarian government of Hussain Mubarak in Egypt as he violently attempted to crush the popular uprising. Shamelessly, they then attempted to claim responsibility for the revolution in an advert.
In April 2001, Vodafone made its first 3G voice call in the UK and it current covers about 93% of the UK with its 3G network. Its infrastructure is also used to run the virtual network ASDA Mobile.
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Vodafone have been running for ages and must have been doing something right to become the world’s largest mobile operator. This success largely has not resulted in complacency although their customer service is not always amazing even for big-spending customers. Having said that, their call centres are based in the UK. Vodafone’s prices are fairly average and they offer tempting “freebees” when you top up.
Vodafone don’t have the best 2G coverage in some areas but are improving all the time and their 3G network is amongst the best available in the UK. Their PAYG call and text charges are reasonable for a main network and they have a strong high street presence. The Freedom Packs do seem excellent value for money when you can get over £50 worth of texts and calls for only £10 but remember that most virtual networks offer even better deals as standard.
To conclude, they have decent prices, tempting offers and a solid service but check the coverage and whether you can do better elsewhere before switching.
At a glance
Vodafone’s PAYG tariff is fairly standard with call charges at 30p and texts priced at 14p each. (As of 14th July 2011, Vodafone massively increased their prices to 25p/minute for calls and 12p for each text making them one of the most expensive networks in the UK). Disgracefully, freephone 0800 numbers are 14p/minute to call (although commendably certain charity numbers are completely free) although picture messages are quite expensive at 36p each.
While Vodafone doesn’t appear to stand out in any way at first, it does offer several “Freebees” to make its PAYG packages more cost effective. These give you bonuses every time you top up and also allow you to get free calls and texts when you spend your credit during the week. Their Freedom Freebee boosters also allow you to buy a month’s worth of minutes and texts for a cut price.
Internet usage on Vodafone PAYG is very expensive with a £1 minimum charge for every day you use any data at all. However, if you browse the web regularly, you can save money with a £5 Web Pack. It lasts 30 days and gives you a 250MB allowance. Not great value but certainly better than the alternative. To buy it, simply text “WEB1” to 2345, call 2345 or activate it through your online My Vodafone account.
The best deal on Vodafone is the Freedom Freebee Packs – they are available in £10, £20, £30 and £40 amounts. For example, the £10 pack gives you 150 minutes, unlimited texts and 250MB of internet while the £30 pack provides you with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts plus and 1GB of web access (usually costing much more).
If you want to try an alternative, get the Weekend Freebee by topping up at least £5 on Monday to Friday to get 100 free minutes and unlimited texts over the weekend. There’s also the International Freebee to get 60 international minutes for a £10 top-up or 240 international minutes for adding £30 of credit.
As for the Text and Web Freebee that gives you free texts and data allowance every time you top up. For example, by buying £10 worth of credit, you get an additional 300 texts and 500MB of internet data. If you top-up £30, you get a huge 3000 free texts and the 500MB on top of your £30 credit.
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