Vodafone’s new £1/day “Pay As You Go 1” tariff gives you unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data.

Vodafone has launched a new ‘Pay As You Go 1’ tariff where they promise you’ll “never spend more than £1 per day”. Designed for people who don’t use their phone very often, there are no regular monthly charges or minimum daily spends. You simply pay up to £1 per day when you use your handset, and nothing on the days when you don’t use your mobile phone.

The £1 daily spend limit covers standard UK phone calls, text messages and mobile internet. For the £1/day, you’ll get unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and up to 500MB of data. Before you reach the £1 daily spend threshold, usage is 20p/minute, 20p/text and 20p for every 5MB of data.

In this article, we’ll review Vodafone’s Pay As You Go 1 tariff. We’ll start by looking at how much it costs and how it compares to other Pay As You Go tariffs on Vodafone. We’ll also compare it to what is available on other mobile networks, the types of handset available and the level of coverage you can expect. Finally, we’ll look at how you can keep an existing phone number when moving from another mobile network to join Vodafone Pay As You Go.

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Pricing

Pay As You Go 1

Vodafone’s new Pay As You Go 1 tariff: unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB data for £1/day.

In the UK, Vodafone’s latest Pay As You Go tariff is called Pay As You Go 1. Designed for customers who don’t normally use their phone every day, the tariff charges £1/day for unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data. The charge is only paid on the days when you actually use your phone, and there are no regular monthly fees to be paid on the service.

Until you reach the £1/day threshold, the following charges will apply for your usage:

Calling Rates:
Voice Calls 20p/minute (capped at £1/day*)
Calls to Voicemail 20p/minute (capped at £1/day*)
Calls to Special Rate Numbers 45p/minute access charge
+ service charge from the company you’re calling
Messaging Rates:
Text Message (SMS) 20p/minute (capped at £1/day*)
Picture Message (MMS) 20p
Internet Rates:
3G & 4G Internet 20p per 5MB (capped at £1/day for up to 500MB*)
Additional Internet £1/day for 500MB (maximum once per day)

* A daily spend cap of £1 applies for standard UK phone calls, text messages and mobile internet usage. Other activities do not count towards the daily spend cap (e.g. special-rate phone numbers, picture messages, international calls, roaming outside of Europe, etc).

Only standard phone calls, text messages and mobile internet usage will count towards your £1 daily spend limit on Pay As You Go 1. Anything else including phone calls to a special-rate number, picture messages and international phone calls will be charged as a separate service (not included within the £1 daily spend limit).

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If you were to use more than 500MB of data during one day, you’ll be offered Vodafone’s £1 Data Extra add-on. This will give you an extra 500MB allowance for use by midnight the same day. It’s only possible to buy the add-on a maximum of once each day so your data connection will be disabled if you were to use 1GB in one day.

A single day is defined by Vodafone as being midnight-to-midnight (UK time). It’s important to remember this when using your phone in Europe as the difference in time zone needs to be considered when working out how much you’ll pay.

Other Pay As You Go Tariffs

Alongside Pay As You Go 1, Vodafone also offers a range of other Pay As You Go tariffs:

  • Big Value Bundles: This is Vodafone’s Pay As You Go tariff for people who regularly use their smartphone. You’ll need to convert your Pay As You Go credit into a one-month bundle (e.g. £10/month for 200 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of internet).
  • Freebies: As an alternative to Pay As You Go 1, Vodafone’s Freebie tariffs can also be suitable for light users. You’ll pay 30p/minute, 14p/text and £2/day for up to 50MB of data. With each top-up of £10 or more, you’ll receive a free allowance that lasts for up to one month.

Opting In To Pay As You Go 1

If you’re an existing Vodafone Pay As You Go customer, you can call 41146 to opt-in to Pay As You Go 1. By opting-in, you’ll lose any benefits associated with your current tariff (for instance, the Freebie allowance you might receive). You’ll also lose remaining bundle allowances if you’re on the Big Value Bundles tariff.

If you’re not currently a Vodafone Pay As You Go customer, you can join Pay As You Go 1 by ordering a free SIM card from Vodafone.

Comparison to Alternatives

On Pay As You Go 1, Vodafone charges £1/day for unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and up to 500MB of data (or 20p per minute, 20p per text and 20p per 5MB until you reach the £1 daily threshold).

Regular Users

If you’re likely to use your mobile phone for more than 10 days each month, it’s likely you’ll be better off buying a Pay As You Go bundle. This is because Vodafone’s £1 daily charge will very quickly add up over the course of the month (e.g. you’ll pay about £30 per month if you were to use your smartphone every day).

With a Pay As You Go bundle, you’ll be able to get the following for £10/month:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaffUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£10.00
ASDA Mobile600Unlimited3GB£10.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£10.00
O25005,0002GB£10.00
Vodafone250Unlimited2GB£10.00
EE250Unlimited1GB£10.00

Please see our in-depth guide to Pay As You Go bundles for more information.

Light Users

If you’re a light user who only uses their phone very occasionally, it’s possible you’ll get good value from Vodafone’s Pay As You Go 1. The key thing is to compare Vodafone’s £1 daily charge against how much you’d typically pay on another mobile network.

For instance, Three charges 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB on their 321 tariff. On Three, you’d therefore be able to use either 33 minutes, 50 texts or 100MB of data with your £1 of credit.

The following table shows a comparison of Vodafone’s Pay As You Go 1 to rival networks:

Network Calls (per minute) Texts (per SMS) Data (per MB)
1pMobile 1p/minute 1p/text 1p/MB
ASDA Mobile 8p/minute 4p/text 5p/MB
EE 30p/minute 12p/text
giffgaff 15p/minute 5p/text 5p/MB
O2 5p/minute 5p/text 5p/MB
Tesco Mobile 25p/minute 10p/text 10p/MB
Three 3p/minute 2p/text 1p/MB
Vodafone £1/day for unlimited minutes, unlimited texts & 500MB data

For more information, see our full comparison of Pay As You Go rates.

Handsets

If you’d like to keep your existing mobile phone, you can order a Pay As You Go 1 SIM card directly from Vodafone. Depending on where your handset was originally purchased, it might be necessary for you to unlock your handset before it will accept a Vodafone SIM card.

If you’d like to buy a new mobile phone, you can buy one directly from Vodafone on the Pay As You Go 1 tariff. Handsets are available from £10 when purchased with a Vodafone top-up of at least £10.

Network & Coverage

2G, 3G & 4G Coverage

Vodafone Coverage
Vodafone offers 98% population coverage across the UK.

Customers on Pay As You Go 1 can access 98% population coverage from Vodafone’s network across the UK. This includes 89% population coverage on 3G and 86% population coverage on 4G.

Before joining Vodafone Pay As You Go, we’d strongly recommend checking the coverage in your area. You can do this by entering your postcode on Vodafone’s online coverage map:

Check Vodafone Coverage (vodafone.co.uk) →

For more information about mobile phone coverage in the UK, please see our in-depth guide to UK mobile coverage.

Tethering

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).

You can tether without any restrictions on Vodafone’s Pay As You Go 1 tariff. This makes it a fairly good choice if you need to occasionally get your other devices connected on the move.

For more information, see our in-depth guide to tethering on UK mobile networks.

International Roaming

On Vodafone Pay As You Go, it’s possible to use your phone in 50 European destinations at no extra charge. The same £1 daily limit applies when you’re travelling in the EU, giving you unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and up to 500MB of data.

Outside of Europe, it’s still possible to access international roaming. However, you won’t be able to pay the normal £1/day rate for your usage – instead, higher international roaming rates will apply for this activity.

Keeping Your Phone Number

If you’re moving from another mobile network to join Vodafone Pay As You Go 1, it’s a straightforward process to keep your current phone number.

To do so, you should start by contacting your current mobile network and asking them for a PAC Code. This is a nine-digit code that authorises Vodafone to take control of your phone number.

Once you’ve obtained the PAC Code from your old mobile network, you can order a free Pay As You Go SIM card from Vodafone. When the new SIM card arrives, place it inside your handset and provide your PAC Code to Vodafone through this form on their website.

After you provide your PAC Code to Vodafone, your phone number will normally be transferred on the next working day. Please be aware that it isn’t possible to transfer Pay As You Go credit over to Vodafone, so you should try to use up your credit before moving your phone number over.

For a step-by-step guide on how to transfer your phone number to Vodafone, please select your current mobile network from the drop-down menu below:

PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to Vodafone

Your current network provider:

  More Options

More Information

For more information about Vodafone’s Pay As You Go 1, please see the official Vodafone website.

Your Comments 23 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 23 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • I have the vodafone sim in my spare phone which i keep in my van for emergencies or if i forget my main phone so use it very rarely. Is this the right plan for me and when do i have to pay? When you read the info. it appears to be say you pay a £1/day. If i load my phone with £10 will that last forever if i do not use the phone? As usual the details of plans never seem to say what is actually going to happen and appear designed to ‘lure’ people onto them (or am i just an old git 🙂 )

    • Hi Mel,
      Thanks for your comment. The Vodafone Pay As You Go 1 SIM card can certainly be a good option for you 🙂 You’ll pay a maximum of £1/day on the days when you use your mobile phone (20p/minute, 20p/text and 20p/5MB until you reach the £1 daily cap).
      You’re right in saying the credit should last a long time if you don’t use the phone. It doesn’t expire after 30 days like it does on a Pay As You Go bundle. The one thing that’s worth watching out for however is Vodafone’s inactivity policy which requires you to use your phone for a chargeable activity at least once every 180 days. Providing you do this, your remaining credit will not have any expiry dates.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

      • Many thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, the reply does not say how the fee is paid. I am assuming that the sim will have to be loaded with a minimum amount then the call charge, etc will be knocked off, but at no more than a rate of £1/day. Is that correct?

        • Hi Mel,
          Absolutely right. You can order a SIM card from their website, with a minimum £5 top-up. The charges are then deducted from your Pay As You Go credit (at no more than £1/day for UK calls, texts & mobile data). When you run out of credit, you can top-up your SIM card with more money (it isn’t necessary to set up a Direct Debit or anything like that).
          Hope this helps,
          Ken

    • Hi Dave,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, on the Pay As You Go 1 tariff, any credit remaining at the end of the month will carry forward to the next month.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Hector MacNeil said:

    My wife rarely uses her phone except for competitions GM etc. Seemingly this new PAYG 1 which Vodafone is automatically changing her to doesn’t include these numbers in their £1/day. But worryingly is the fact that in their TOC it mentions possible background “chatter”, whatever that is, which would be included.
    At the moment my wife just tops up when necessary after she’s used up her credit doing competitions I’m just worried that she’ll lose out with this new tariff being charged for usage she has no control over.

    • Hi Hector,

      Thanks for your comment. You’re right: Vodafone’s £1/day charge only covers phone calls and text messages to standard UK numbers (most phone numbers beginning with 01, 02, 03 and 07). More precisely, you’re charged 20p/minute for these calls but it’s all capped so you’ll pay no more than £1/day. If she’s only ever using her phone for the premium rate phone numbers, this £1/day charge shouldn’t be activated (as it’s more of a cap, rather than an actual charge).

      With regards to the “background chatter”, this refers to when you have mobile data enabled on your phone but when you’re not actively using any applications. For instance, your mobile phone will check for new e-mails, WhatsApp messages, etc even when you’re not actively using it. So long as you disable the “mobile data” feature on the handset, there shouldn’t be any background chatter and therefore you won’t pay for this. It’s worth noting that the charge is again implemented as a daily cap: you’re actually charged 20p for every 5MB of data you use, capped so you’ll pay no more than £1/day.

      Hope this helps,

      Ken

  • Wendy Nugent said:

    Hello Ken. Forgive me, but there’s no mention of the Vodaphone “Basic” package which offers U/L minutes and texts and a very small amount of data for £6 a month…. or a bit more data for £8 a month. It’s tucked away on their website – but hard to find – and is also offered under the USwitch umbrella too. Part of the deal is that the price will only increase by RPI annually … which seems fair. Seems a bit too good to be true … but I’ve phoned them and had it confirmed – he said it’s cheap coz of the small amount of data.

    Thanks., Regards.

    • Hi Wendy,
      Thanks a lot for letting me know about this! This is definitely a really interesting offer from Vodafone, though it does come with a 12-month contract (rather than being Pay As You Go). There are also a number of restrictions to be aware of on the tariff e.g. you won’t be able to use it when you’re outside the UK. For this reason, it might also be worth investigating alternatives like giffgaff’s £10 goodybag which, in my opinion, offers greater flexibility, no contract & the ability to use your mobile phone abroad.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

      • Wendy Nugent replied:

        Sorry for delay in replying. Just as a matter of interest, I spotted that O2 does a similar deal called Classic 321 (I would imagine you already know about it). But it does seem to included overseas use. For me it has the advantage that there is an O2 shop sited more conveniently than the Three shop … maybe there are more O2 shops in the UK? The staff were helpful when I went in to enquire. And I would guess that O2 coverage is no worse than Three …. but presumably it’s horses for courses on that point.

        Lastly, I have, for the moment, decided to stay with Asda PAYG with their 8p and 4p pricing for calls and texts due to their excellent customer support in the UK … the communication abilities of some overseas call centre staff are a bit daunting at times. Most phone call centre staff, like PayPal staff, are helpful … but, occasionally, not easy to understand.

        • Wendy Nugent replied:

          I should have said … the O2 Classic 321 deal is a similar deal to the Three 321 offering – but with, possibly, a couple of benefits over Three.

        • Hi Wendy,
          No problem, and thanks for getting back to me! O2’s Classic Pay As You Go tariff is a fantastic choice – in case you’re curious, I’ve reviewed it here in more detail. Like you say, it’s very similar to Three’s 321 tariff, and also comes with a number of benefits like O2 Priority. You can roam in the EU at no extra charge (but this is also possible on all other networks), whereas Three also gives you some non-EU destinations. Comparing the two, Three is probably still better value overall, as you can also buy an All-in-One bundle the times when you need it (whereas it isn’t possible to do the same on O2 Classic Pay As You Go).
          Finally, in relation to your very first comment, I’ve put together some notes on Vodafone’s Basic SIM Only deals here.
          Hope this helps!
          Ken

          • Wendy Nugent. replied:

            Hello.

            Just to say I called O2 PAYG Customer Service the other day (August 2018). Asked if he could confirm (or otherwise) that you MUST top up with a tenner every six months. The fella said – NOT necessary to top up, but you need to make a chargeable call … and advised doing so every couple of months rather than call once every six months. He couldn’t direct me to a written statement to that effect though, but was certain that that was the case. And the Ts and Cs do still state that top up is required to keep your number live.

            I suppose it would be prudent to take out a plan using a number that isn’t particularly precious in order to get first hand knowledge rather than take the chance that a cherished number might get lost … but I do believe they let you know that they intend disconnecting you (in the event you do nothing for six months).

  • VODAFONE’S PAY AS YOU GO 1 DOES NOT WORK OUTSIDE THE UNITED KINGDOM WHEN YOU ARE ABROAD IN EUROPE.

    ITS A BIG LIE WHOMEVER CLAIMS THIS WORKS PROPERLY OUTSIDE THE UK.

    I subscribed to this service on 28.3.18 and I happen to travel to Finland.
    NOBODY from the UK can contact me, whilst I am in Europe because it cuts-off after 1 ring.

    Whilst I am travelling in Finland NOBODY in Finland can contact me on 07464****** because it rings once and cuts-off automatically as call cancelled.

    Whilst in Finland today 04.04.18, I conducted an experiment this afternoon and asked my friend in Finland sitting next to me to ring my Mobile Phone +447464****** what happened was the phone rang Once on my phone and it automatically cancelled itself. On my Friends Phone he was getting my voicemail inbox.

  • Jackie Harris said:

    I have only just found out about the closure of Talkmobile’s PAYG – no email, no text and I still have Talkmobile (or at least that’s what it says on the Home screen of my mobile) service at the old Talkmobile rates of 10p access charge for voice calls.

    I’d prefer to stay with Vodafone, so with this Pay As You Go 1 tariff, would I only pay for outgoing calls and texts (that I make infrequently).

    Also, as I have an older style 2G phone I can’t use Three.

    It seems that there are considerably fewer true PAYGs out there now – so many require regular top up. I did look at O2 Classic tariff, but I see from the Ts and Cs that you have to top up £10 every six months.

    • Hi Jackie,
      Thanks for your comment. I’ve got a guide to all of the traditional or “true” Pay As You Go tariffs so possibly worth a quick look when choosing your new mobile network! 1pMobile is the cheapest (1p/minute, 1p/text & 1p/MB) but requires you to top-up £10 every 120 days. ASDA Mobile is probably my recommended all-round option: they charge 8p/minute, 4p/text and 5p/MB (coverage from EE and no minimum top-up required, you just need to use your phone at least once every 270 days).
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

      • Hi Ken,

        Thanks for your reply. I think a visit to the local Vodafone store is on the cards. I would prefer to stay on the Vodafone network (I already have a Plusnet contract with coverage from EE and the signal on that isn’t that great). I make very few calls and texts from my main phone, so I need to clarify that the £1 per day charge is only levied when I MAKE calls and send texts, rather than receive them.

        I’m also hoping that moving to Vodafone will enable someone between Talkmobile and Vodafone to sort out the PAC issue – I really don’t want to lose my number.

        • Hi Jackie,
          Thanks for your reply. I’m pretty sure the £1/day charge is only levied when you make or send outgoing phone calls and text messages (the pricing is structured in such a way that you’ll pay 20p/minute and 20p/text, capped at £1/day). Saying that, do check with Vodafone directly if you’d like official confirmation and for information on how to move your phone number over in the most efficient way.
          Thanks,
          Ken

  • This is a very expensive PAYG option. If you need the Vodafone network maybe due to where you live you should consider Talkmobile. You could easily be paying £30 per month for a payg sim – you can get a good contract phone for £30 per month. Why would someone pay 20p per minute and 20p per text when they are 1p from 1p mobile using EE network? Surely no one will be fooled by this. Very strange offering

    Great site Ken for all things mobile – keep up the good work?

    • Hi Miles,
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, I believe Talkmobile has now been closed down and Vodafone is encouraging Talkmobile customers to switch to their own brand. I do agree, however, this isn’t a particularly good deal for people who use their smartphone every day. It is however a potentially interesting tariff if you’re someone who rarely uses their phone but then uses it for a lot of things when they do (e.g. for someone who uses their phone only at the weekends).
      Ken

      • I have just seen that talk mobile have been taken over by Vodafone and the payg offering has been withdrawn. Clever move by Vodafone to limit cheap access to the Vodafone network

        • Hi Miles,
          Yes – very unfortunate! It’s been rumoured for a couple of years already – when Mobile by Sainsbury’s shut down in 2015, TalkTalk came out and said Vodafone was pulling out of the MVNO market. Whilst Vodafone denied the claims, no independent MVNOs have launched on the Vodafone network for two years (VOXI is a slight exception, though it’s really a sub-brand of Vodafone rather than an independent MVNO). TalkTalk Mobile is in the process of moving to O2, leaving Lebara the only MVNO with coverage from Vodafone.
          Ken

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