Vodafone offers three types of price plan: Red, Unlimited and Basics. Find out how the different price plans compare.
Comparing the Red, Unlimited and Basics price plans, you’ll need to decide whether you want unlimited data or a gigabyte allowance, the maximum download speeds you want on your plan and whether you need inclusive international roaming.
The cheapest available SIM cards are available on Vodafone Basics, where you’ll pay as little as £6/month for data at a download speed of up to a 10Mbps (equivalent to a basic 4G connection). Vodafone Red gives you a larger allowance of data along with 5G on most plans, with inclusive roaming when you travel abroad in Europe. Meanwhile, at the top-end, Vodafone Unlimited starts from £22/month for unlimited data at a range of different download speeds.
In this article, we’ll compare the three types of price plan from Vodafone. We’ll look at Vodafone Red, Vodafone Unlimited and Vodafone Basics in more detail. We’ll then showcase some of the best value SIM cards in each range before looking at the coverage available and how to keep your existing phone number.
- 1 Vodafone Basics vs Red vs Unlimited: At A Glance
- 2 Price Plans & Features
- 3 Coverage
- 4 Keeping Your Phone Number
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
- 6 More Information
Vodafone Basics vs Red vs Unlimited: At A Glance
In the UK, Vodafone offers three types of price plan: Basics, Red and Unlimited. The following table summarises the key differences between the three types of plan:
|Monthly Price||From £6/month||From £11/month||From £22/month|
|Data||2GB – 100GB||1GB – 40GB||Unlimited|
|Contract Length||12 months||30 days
|Other||New customers only
SIM card only
|Network & Coverage Features|
|5G Coverage||✘||✔* (5GB+ plans)||✔*|
|Download Speed||Up to 10Mbps||Uncapped 4G/5G||Uncapped 4G/5G (Max)
Up to 10Mbps (Unlimited)
Up to 2Mbps (Lite)
|Roaming Supported?||✘ UK-only use||✔||✔|
|Inclusive EU Roaming||✘||✔ 51 destinations||✔ 51 destinations|
|Inclusive non-EU Roaming||✘||✘||✔ 30 destinations (Max)
✘ (Unlimited & Lite)
|Roaming Data Limit
||✘||1GB – 20GB||25GB|
|Entertainment Plan||✘||Add £7/month
(20GB plan only)
(Unlimited & Max only)
|Entertainment Length||–||12-24 months||12-24 months|
Prior to July 2019, Vodafone offered a slightly different line-up consisting of Essential, Red Extra and Red Entertainment plans. The features from these old plans have since been consolidated into Vodafone Red and Vodafone Unlimited (e.g. Entertainment is now available as an add-on to both Vodafone Red and Vodafone Unlimited).
Price Plans & Features
If you’re looking for a low-cost SIM card that only includes “what you need for everyday use in the UK”, Vodafone offers a choice of five Basics price plans. Starting from just £6/month, the Basics price plans include unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and an allowance of data (e.g. the £10 plan includes 12GB of data per month).
On Basics, you’ll get the same 3G and 4G coverage as other Vodafone customers but the download speed is capped at a maximum of 10Mbps. This is equivalent to a basic 4G connection and should be enough for almost everything you’d want to use on your smartphone (including streaming HD-quality video, music, video calling, sharing photos and using social media apps). It may not be suitable for streaming Ultra HD (4K) video or tethering to lots of devices at the same time.
Some lesser-used features are not available on Vodafone Basics. For instance, a Basics SIM card cannot be used outside the UK. Additionally, things like international calls, premium-rate calls and MMS picture messages are barred on the service.
If you’d like a more fully-featured price plan, Vodafone Red starts from £11/month. This is sometimes also known as a “Gigabyte plan”.
On Vodafone Red, you’ll normally get a data allowance of either 1GB, 5GB or 20GB per month. Occasionally, larger data allowances may also be available on a promotional basis.
Access to Vodafone’s 5G network is possible on the 5GB and 20GB plans, subject to 5G coverage in your area and having a 5G-ready phone. There are no download speed limits on Vodafone Red so you can access the fastest available speeds supported by your phone and network coverage.
|To show you the most relevant plans, 8 similar but more expensive plans have been hidden. Tap here to show them.|
For an extra £7/month, an optional Entertainment package can be added to the Vodafone Red 20GB plan. This will give you access to YouTube Premium, Amazon Prime, Spotify Premium, the NOW TV Entertainment Pass or Sky Sports Mobile TV.
At the top end, Vodafone’s flagship offer is their range of unlimited data plans. Starting from £22/month, you’ll be able to download as much as you like on these plans.
There are three unlimited data price plans to choose from:
- Unlimited Lite (from £22/month) gives you download speeds of up to 2Mbps.
- Unlimited (from £26/month) gives you download speeds of up to 10Mbps.
- Unlimited Max (from £30/month) gives you the fastest available speeds on Vodafone. In theory, this can go all the way up to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps). More realistically, however, it’ll normally be around 150-200Mbps on 5G and 25-35Mbps on 4G).
You’ll be able to use up to your 25GB of your data abroad at no extra charge on Vodafone Unlimited. You’ll get inclusive roaming in 51 European destinations, plus an extra 30 destinations outside Europe if you choose the Unlimited Max price plan.
|To show you the most relevant plans, 6 similar but more expensive plans have been hidden. Tap here to show them.|
The table above shows Vodafone Unlimited SIM cards on a 24-month contract. You’ll need to pay a little bit extra to get the SIM cards on a 12-month contract or 30-day rolling contract. Alternatively, you can get a new smartphone with unlimited data on Vodafone, either directly from their website or from retailers like Mobiles.co.uk and the Carphone Warehouse.
An optional £7/month Entertainment package can be added to the Unlimited and Unlimited Max plans. If you choose to add an Entertainment package, you’ll get inclusive access to either YouTube Premium, Amazon Prime, Spotify Premium, NOW TV or Sky Sports Mobile TV.
For more information, please read our full review of Vodafone’s unlimited data plans.
2G, 3G & 4G Coverage
In the UK, Vodafone offers 99% population coverage on their 2G, 3G and 4G mobile network.
Regardless of whether you choose a Basics, Red or Unlimited price plan, you’ll have access to the exact same level of 2G, 3G and 4G mobile coverage. You can use Vodafone’s online coverage map to ensure there’s coverage available where you live:
With 4G coverage, you can typically get download speeds of around 25-35Mbps from Vodafone. A forecast of the download speeds available in your area can be found within Vodafone’s coverage map (tap on the Data speed info button once you’ve entered your postcode).
If you have a 5G-ready smartphone and price plan, you can access Vodafone’s 5G network in towns and cities where coverage has been switched on.
Access to 5G coverage is available on Vodafone Red price plans with at least 5GB of data per month and on all Vodafone unlimited data plans.
Vodafone’s 5G network is currently available in the following UK towns and cities:
|Now Live||45 towns and cities are live on Vodafone 5G (September 2020)|
Ambleside, Bebington, Belfast, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bishopbriggs, Bolton, Bootle, Bristol, Cardiff, Cheadle, Droylsden, Eccles, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Glasgow, Guildford, Horwich, Huyton-with-Roby, Isle of Scilly, Kingswood, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Llandudno, London, Manchester, Mangotsfield, Newbury, Paisley, Penarth, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Prestwich, Reading, Rochdale, Salford, Solihull, Southampton, Stockport, Stoke-on-Trent, Stretford, Wallasey, Warrington, Wolverhampton
|2 towns and cities planned|
Blackpool, Bournemouth (2020)
If you’re not able to access 5G coverage on your phone, you’ll still be able to access 2G, 3G and 4G coverage from Vodafone. For more information, see our full guide to 5G coverage in the UK.
Tethering & Personal Hotspot
Tethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with other devices (e.g. with a laptop or tablet). It’s often a convenient way to get a mobile broadband connection without buying a separate device.
On Vodafone, it’s possible to use tethering and personal hotspot regardless of which price plan you choose. This means you can tether the entirety of your data allowance on Vodafone Basics, Red and Unlimited.
If you’re likely to tether fairly regularly from your phone, we’d recommend the £30/month Unlimited Max price plan. This gives you unlimited data with full 4G & 5G download speeds, and you can tether as much as you like to share the data with other devices. We wouldn’t recommend tethering on Unlimited Lite as the 2Mbps download speed is likely to make this a frustrating experience.
On Vodafone Red and Vodafone Unlimited, you can use your mobile phone abroad in other countries at no extra charge. This is available as part of Vodafone’s Global Roaming service.
- With Vodafone Basics, roaming is not available as Basics is a UK-only plan.
- With Vodafone Red, you can use your normal UK allowance at no extra charge in 51 European roam-free destinations.
- With Unlimited Lite and Unlimited, you can use up to 25GB of data abroad at no extra charge in 51 European roam-free destinations.
- With Unlimited Max, you can use up to 25GB of data abroad at no extra charge in 81 destinations as part of Vodafone Global Roaming Plus. This includes most of Europe, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and more.
Keeping Your Phone Number
If you’re switching from another mobile network to Vodafone, it’s a straightforward process to keep your existing phone number.
To do so, start by contacting your old mobile network and asking them for a PAC Code. This is a nine-digit code that authorises the transfer of your phone number to Vodafone. You can get a PAC Code through your mobile network’s website or app, or by texting PAC to 65075.
Once you’ve gotten a PAC Code from your current network, order your new mobile phone or SIM card from the Vodafone website. After your new phone or SIM card arrives in the post, you can provide the PAC Code to Vodafone through this online form. They’ll then schedule the transfer of your phone number, normally for 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:
Frequently Asked Questions
|How does Vodafone Red compare to Vodafone Basics and Vodafone Unlimited?||
Vodafone offers three types of Pay Monthly plan:
|What download speeds are available on Vodafone price plans?||
The maximum download speeds available on Vodafone’s price plans are as follows:
|Which Vodafone price plans come with international roaming?||
You can use your mobile phone abroad on any Vodafone Red or Vodafone Unlimited price plan. Most plans come with the Vodafone Global Roaming service, where there are 51 European Roam-free destinations. On the Unlimited Max price plan, you’ll have access to Global Roaming Plus with a total of 81 Roam-free destinations (including 30 destinations outside Europe). Unfortunately, international roaming is not available on Vodafone Basics.
|How does the coverage compare across Vodafone price plans?||
In the UK, Vodafone offers four types of coverage: 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G. All Vodafone Pay Monthly customers are able to access 99% population coverage on Vodafone’s 2G, 3G and 4G networks. To get access to Vodafone’s 5G network, you’ll need a Vodafone Red plan with at least 5GB of data per month or a Vodafone Unlimited plan.
|Which Vodafone price plans come with inclusive Entertainment?||
You can add a Entertainment package for £7/month to the Vodafone Red 20GB, Unlimited and Unlimited Max plans. The Entertainment package gives you access to either YouTube Premium, Amazon Prime, Spotify Premium, the NOW TV Entertainment Pass or Sky Sports Mobile TV for the duration of your contract.
|Can I keep my current phone number when joining Vodafone?||
Yes. It’s easy to keep your current phone number when moving to Vodafone. Start by asking your current mobile network for a PAC Code, either through their website or app, or by texting PAC to 65075. You should then provide this to Vodafone after you sign up.