‘Vodafone Basics’ SIM-only plans offer unlimited UK minutes & a data allowance from £6/month.
Vodafone now offers a line-up of basic SIM-only plans, promising to “include only the things you use every day”. The no-frills ‘Basics’ SIM cards start from £6/month and are an online-only exclusive for customers that are new to Vodafone. The SIM cards are only available for purchase through a special page on Vodafone’s website.
You can get a Vodafone Basics plan from just £6/month on a 12-month contract with unlimited UK minutes, unlimited UK texts and an allowance of UK data. For instance, the £6 plan comes with 500MB of data, rising up to the £10/month plan which currently includes 6GB of data.
Being a cheaper and lower-cost alternative to Vodafone’s normal SIM-only plans, there are a number of limitations. For instance, the Basics plan doesn’t allow you to use your mobile phone outside the UK. International and premium-rate calls along with picture messages and video calls are also barred on the service.
In this article, we’ll review the Vodafone Basics tariff in more detail. We’ll start by looking at the plans available, along with the features of the tariff and how this compares to regular SIM-only plans. We’ll then compare the price against rival SIM cards from other mobile networks before looking at the coverage you can expect and how to keep your existing phone number.
About Vodafone Basics
SIM Only Plans
‘Vodafone Basics’ is a new range of lower-cost SIM-only plans, available from Vodafone in the UK.
At the time of writing, there are three 12-month plans currently available in the Basics range:
All of the plans come on a 12-month contract and you’ll need to undergo a credit check as part of the application process. You’ll also need to set up a monthly Direct Debit from your bank account to pay for your usage.
According to Vodafone, the Basics SIM-only plans come with “no fuss, no frills, and none of those extra features that just cost you more”.
It’s worth being aware of the following limitations before signing up to a Basics plan:
- You’ll only be able to use your phone inside the UK. On most other Vodafone plans, it’s possible to use your mobile phone abroad when travelling to other countries. Typically, it’s free to use your mobile phone inside Europe, and it’s £6/day in many other destinations as part of Vodafone Global Roaming. On Vodafone Basics, roaming is not available – you won’t be able to make or receive phone calls using your SIM card whilst abroad. You can still use wi-fi to get connected whilst abroad, or you can use a different SIM card when abroad in other countries.
- Many additional paid-for services are barred. This includes international calling, picture messages (MMS), video calling, premium-rate calls (phone numbers beginning with 09) and premium-rate text messages. You’ll still be able to share photos and videos through an instant messaging application like WhatsApp.
- You can’t add a Vodafone Pass or many other extras. If you’d like to add a Vodafone Pass or other types of extras, you’ll need to buy a regular SIM-only plan. These extras are not compatible with Vodafone Basics.
- Wi-Fi Calling and 4G Calling are not available on Basics. Vodafone does not offer Wi-Fi Calling or 4G Calling to customers on a Basics price plan.
- The Basics plan is only available to new customers. In order to be able to get a Vodafone Basics plan, you’ll need to be either a customer of a different mobile network, or a Vodafone Pay As You Go customer. If you’re an existing Vodafone Pay Monthly customer, it won’t be possible to sign up for a Vodafone Basics plan.
- You can only sign up for a Vodafone Basics price plan online. The Vodafone Basics price plan is only available to customers who sign up online through a special page on Vodafone’s website. It isn’t available to customers in-store or by telephone.
Comparison to Alternatives
£6 per month plans
For £6/month, Vodafone is offering a Basics plan with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of internet.
Several other mobile networks offer a similar amount of data at this price range, but often without the inclusion of unlimited minutes. You may, however, get additional flexibility in having a shorter 1-month contract or the ability to use your mobile phone outside the UK.
£8 per month plans
At the £8 per month price point, Vodafone is currently offering a Basics plan with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of data. This compares fairly strongly to the rest of the market, though some alternative deals have a shorter 30-day contract, giving you more flexibility than Vodafone Basics.
The following table shows some alternatives to Vodafone’s £8 Basics plan:
£10 per month plans
At the £10 per month price point, Vodafone is offering a £10 Basics plan with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 6GB of data.
At the £10 price point, many other mobile networks also offer unlimited calls, though you’ll typically need to pay a bit more for a comparable amount of data.
The following table shows some alternatives to Vodafone’s £10 Basics plan:
For a full comparison of SIM-only deals available in the UK, please see our full comparison of SIM-only tariffs.
Network & Coverage
2G, 3G & 4G UK Coverage
Customers with a Vodafone Basics plan can access 98% population coverage across the UK on Vodafone’s 2G, 3G and 4G networks. This includes 97% population coverage on 4G.
Before signing up to a Vodafone Basics plan, we’d strongly recommend checking the coverage in your area. You can do this by entering your postcode on Vodafone’s online coverage map:
For more information about mobile phone coverage in the UK, please see our in-depth guide to mobile phone coverage in the UK.
No International Coverage
One major limitation of Vodafone’s Basic plans is you’ll be unable to use your mobile phone outside of the UK. Whereas on most other tariffs, you’ll have access to international roaming, this is barred for all customers using a Vodafone Basics plan.
Because there is no international coverage available, you won’t be able to make or receive phone calls when you’re outside the UK. You also won’t be able to send or receive SMS text messages, or access the mobile internet abroad. It will still be possible to call the emergency services, and to access the internet through alternatives such as wi-fi connectivity (e.g. in hotels, coffee shops and airports).
On Vodafone’s other SIM-only plans, you’ll be able to benefit from free European roaming. You can also access Vodafone’s £6/day Global Roaming offer which allows you to take your UK allowances with you to 104 Roam-further destinations.
Tethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with another device (e.g. with your laptop or tablet). It’s a good way of getting other devices connected to the internet through a mobile broadband connection.
On Vodafone Basics, it’s possible to tether and to share your mobile data allowance on-the-go with other devices. However, we’d probably recommend against using it on the entry-level 500MB plan. This is because tethering can very quickly use up your inclusive data allowance (it costs £6.50 per 250MB once you use up your allowance). On other plans with a bit more data included, tethering and personal hotspot is a convenient way to stay connected on-the-go.
For more information, please see our guide on the UK’s best value tariffs for tethering.
Keeping Your Phone Number
If you’re moving from another mobile network to Vodafone, it’s easy to take your existing phone number with you.
To begin the process of moving your phone number to Vodafone, you should start by contacting your current mobile network to ask them for a PAC Code. This is a nine-digit code that will authorise Vodafone to take control of your phone number, and must legally be provided to you free of charge.
Once you’ve obtained the PAC Code from your current network, you can order your new Basics SIM card from the Vodafone website. When your new SIM card arrives in the post, place it inside your phone and then enter your PAC Code on Vodafone’s online form. After you do this, your phone number transfer will normally take place on the next working day.
For a step-by-step guide on transferring your phone number to Vodafone, please select your current mobile network from the drop-down menu below:
For more information about Vodafone Basics, please see the official Vodafone website.