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 think about 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 4G speed. 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 £23/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.
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||£6 – £10||From £11/month||From £23/month|
|Data||500MB – 6GB||1GB – 20GB||Unlimited|
|Contract Length||12 months||30 days
|Other||New customers only
SIM card only
|Network & Coverage Features|
|5G Coverage||✘||✔* (5GB+ plans)||✔*|
|Download Speed||Uncapped 4G||Uncapped 4G/5G||Uncapped 4G/5G (Max)
|Roaming Supported?||✘ UK-only use||✔||✔|
|Inclusive EU Roaming||✘||✔||✔|
|Inclusive non-EU Roaming||✘||✘||✔ 29 destinations (Max)
✘ (Unlimited & Lite)
|Roaming Data Limit
||✘||1GB – 20GB||25GB|
|Entertainment Plan||✘||Add £6/month
(20GB plan only)
(Unlimited & Max only)
Amazon Prime Video
Sky Sports Mobile TV
Amazon Prime Video
Sky Sports Mobile TV
|Entertainment Length||–||12 months (SIM)
24 months (handset)
|12 months (SIM)
24 months (handset)
Prior to July 2019, Vodafone offered a slightly different line-up consisting of Essential, Red Extra and Red Entertainment plans. The features from these 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 “includes only the things you use every day”, Vodafone offers a choice of three Basics price plans from only £6/month. All Basics price plans include unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and an allowance of data (e.g. the £10 plan includes 6GB of data per month at time of writing).
On Basics, you’ll get the same 3G and 4G coverage as other Vodafone customers, but some lesser-used features will not be available on the SIM card. For instance, a Basics SIM card cannot be used outside the UK. Additionally, things like international calls, premium-rate calls, MMS picture messages and 3G video calls are barred on the service. It also isn’t possible to access Vodafone’s 5G network.
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”.
With Vodafone Red, you’ll get a data allowance of either 1GB, 5GB or 20GB per month. 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.
In the table above, we’ve listed Vodafone Red SIM cards on a 12-month contract. You can pay an extra £2/month to get the SIM card on a 30-day rolling contract. Alternatively, Pay Monthly handsets are available at a range of different price points.
For an extra £6/month, an optional Entertainment package is available on the 20GB plan. This will give you access to Amazon Prime Video, Spotify Premium, NOW TV or Sky Sports Mobile TV.
At the top end, Vodafone offers a range of unlimited data plans. Starting from £23/month, you’ll be able to download as much as you like on these plans.
There are three unlimited price plans to choose from:
- Unlimited Lite (from £23/month) gives you download speeds of up to 2Mbit/s.
- Unlimited (from £26/month) gives you download speeds of up to 10Mbit/s.
- Unlimited Max (from £30/month) gives you the fastest available speeds on Vodafone. In theory, this can go up to 1Gbit/s (1,000Mbit/s). More realistically, however, it’ll be around 150-200Mbit/s on 5G or about 25-35Mbit/s on 4G).
You’ll be able to use up to your 25GB of your data abroad at no extra charge on Vodafone Unlimited. Inclusive roaming is available in 48 European destinations, plus an further 29 destinations outside of Europe if you choose the Unlimited Max plan.
The table above shows Vodafone Unlimited SIM cards on a 12-month contract. An extra fee of £2/month will apply if you want unlimited data on a 30-day rolling contract. Alternatively, you can choose from a range of handsets that have unlimited data on Vodafone.
An optional £6/month Entertainment package is available on Unlimited and Unlimited Max. If you choose to add an Entertainment package, you’ll get inclusive access to either Amazon Prime Video, 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 25-35Mbit/s from Vodafone. A forecast of the download speeds available in your area can be found within Vodafone’s coverage map (tap the Data speed info button once you’ve entered your postcode to check the coverage in your area).
For more information, see our full guide to mobile phone coverage in the UK.
If you have a 5G-ready smartphone and price plan, you can access Vodafone’s 5G mobile network in towns and cities where 5G coverage has been switched on.
Access to 5G coverage is available on the Red 5GB plan, the Red 20GB plan and all unlimited data plans.
Vodafone’s 5G network is currently available in the following UK towns and cities:
|Now Live||38 towns and cities are live on Vodafone 5G (January 2020)|
Bebington, Belfast, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bolton, Bootle, Bristol, Cardiff, Cheadle, Droylsden, Eccles, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Glasgow, Horwich, Huyton-with-Roby, Isle of Scilly, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Llandudno, London, Manchester, Mangotsfield, Newbury, Paisley, Penarth, Plymouth, Prestwich, Rochdale, Salford, Solihull, Stockport, Stoke-on-Trent, Stretford, Wallasey, Warrington, Wolverhampton
|6 towns and cities planned|
Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Portsmouth, Reading, Southampton (End of 2019)
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.
Tethering & Personal Hotspot
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 2Mbit/s 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 48 European roam-free destinations.
- With Unlimited Lite and Unlimited, you can use up to 25GB of data abroad at no extra charge in 48 European roam-free destinations.
- With Unlimited Max, you can use up to 25GB of data abroad at no extra charge in 77 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.
Once you’ve obtained 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 your PAC Code to Vodafone. They’ll 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: