Vodafone offers three types of price plan: Red, Unlimited and Basics. Find out how the different price plans compare.

If you’re choosing a new mobile phone or SIM card from Vodafone, there are currently three types of price plan you’re able to choose from.

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:

Basics Red Unlimited
Monthly Price £6 – £10 From £11/month From £23/month
Minutes Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Texts Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Data 500MB – 6GB 1GB – 20GB Unlimited
Contract Length 12 months 30 days
12 months
30 days
12 months
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)
10Mbit/s (Unlimited)
2Mbit/s (Lite)
Tethering
Wi-Fi Calling
4G Calling
International Roaming
Roaming Supported? UK-only use
Inclusive EU Roaming
Inclusive non-EU Roaming 29 destinations (Max)
(Unlimited & Lite)
Roaming Data Limit
1GB – 20GB 25GB
Inclusive Entertainment
Entertainment Plan Add £6/month
(20GB plan only)
Add £6/month
(Unlimited & Max only)
Entertainment Services
Choose one:
Amazon Prime Video
Spotify Premium
NOW TV
Sky Sports Mobile TV
Choose one:
Amazon Prime Video
Spotify Premium
NOW TV
Sky Sports Mobile TV
Entertainment Length 12 months (SIM)
24 months (handset)
12 months (SIM)
24 months (handset)

* Vodafone’s 5G coverage is subject to coverage in your area and having a 5G-ready smartphone.
Wi-Fi Calling and 4G Calling are only available on compatible smartphones. Android devices may need to be purchased directly from Vodafone.

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

Basics Plans

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.

TariffMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
Basics
UnlimitedUnlimited1.5GB
500MB
£6.00
Basics
UnlimitedUnlimited5GB
1GB
£8.00
Basics
UnlimitedUnlimited8GB
3GB
£10.00

Vodafone Basics is only available to new customers, and must be purchased through a special page on Vodafone’s website. For more information, please read our in-depth review of Vodafone Basics.

Red Plans

5G coverage is available on Vodafone Red 5GB and 20GB plans.

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.

You’ll get inclusive roaming on Vodafone Red when travelling to 48 European destinations. If your handset supports it, you can also use the Wi-Fi Calling and 4G Calling capabilities.

TariffMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
Red
UnlimitedUnlimited1GB£11.00
Red
UnlimitedUnlimited5GB£15.00
Red
UnlimitedUnlimited20GB£20.00

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.

Unlimited Plans

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.

TariffMinutesTextsDataMonthly
Cost
Unlimited
UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
2Mbps max
£23.00
Unlimited
UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
10Mbps max
£26.00
Unlimited
UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£30.00

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.

Coverage

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:

Check Vodafone Coverage (vodafone.co.uk) →

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.

5G Coverage

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 Live32 towns and cities are live on Vodafone 5G (November 2019)
Bebington, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bolton, Bootle, Bristol, Cardiff, Droylsden, Eccles, Gatwick, Glasgow, Horwich, Huyton-with-Roby, Isle of Scilly, Lancaster, Liverpool, Llandudno, London, Manchester, Mangotsfield, Newbury, Paisley, Penarth, Plymouth, Prestwich, Salford, Solihull, Stoke-on-Trent, Stretford, Wallasey, Warrington, Wolverhampton
Planned &
Announced
6 towns and cities planned
Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Portsmouth, Reading, Southampton (End of 2019)

Check 5G Coverage on Vodafone →

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 guide to the coverage on Vodafone and the planned 5G rollout timeline by town and city.

Tethering & Personal Hotspot

Tethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your phone’s mobile broadband connection with other devices (e.g. with a laptop or tablet).

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.

International Roaming

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.

For more information, see Vodafone’s Global Roaming webpage or check the international roaming rates on their website.

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:

PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to Vodafone

Select your current mobile network:

  More Options

More Information

For more information, please see Vodafone’s official website. You can also read our in-depth reviews on Vodafone Basics, on Vodafone Unlimited and on Vodafone’s network and coverage.

Your Comments 11 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 11 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Hello,
    I theory yes, however Vodafone does it somehow that GBs disappear very quickly even if all attachments closed and you do literally nothing. My previous comment was that 1.3GB disappeared just browsing linkedIn, news, and checking emails with no video or music in 5 days. So I was keeping the only one app opened Vodafone writing that comment, and 0.1GB has just been written off! Miracle by Vodafone! So to do anything and listen to music it’s a must to have unlimited. Thinking about leaving Vodafone though.

  • Hello,
    Just moved from Basic 5GB plan (I paid £18+ for some reason) to Red 5GB plan which is £15.
    Recently noticed, even being on the previous plan, GB started disappearing very quickly even if you don’t do anything but browsing LinkedIn, etc. 5 days and 1.3 GB has gone. No music, no film watching, nothing, very basic stuff like reading news and checking emails, not downloading anything huge.
    I have no idea how Vodafone does that … I’m not saying they are cheating but that’s interesting how they do it anyway.

    • Hi Tony,
      Thanks for your comment. Out of interest, what does the data usage monitor on your smartphone say and how does this data usage differ from what Vodafone is reporting? I’d personally be really surprised if they’re measuring your data usage incorrectly. Instead, it’s often the case that something’s running in the background (e.g. background app updates, cloud sync & backup services, etc) meaning data is consumed on your device in the background without you knowing.
      Ken

  • Hi.. I am coming to the end of a Vodafone Red Entertainment pack, which had 25gb + Spotify/Sky and Global Roaming included.
    It seems that the new policies on offer will not have Global Roaming included, rather, they will charge £5/day usage for North America. Or am I wrong?
    I was told by a representative that if I stay on my contract, I will only lose the ‘Entertainment Option’ ie. Spotify/Sky, but will still have Global Roaming included..

    I travel to North America once a month and would like to have North America included in my price plan, as opposed to paying a ££ daily rate.

    Any help or suggestions for another carrier?

    Many thanks,

    • Hi there,
      It’s still possible to get Global Roaming Plus, which gives you up to 25GB of data each month for use in 77 destinations including the USA, Canada and Mexico. To get it, you’ll need to choose the Unlimited Max price plan which starts from £30/month on a SIM-only basis. Entertainment will cost you an extra £6/month so the total package with Entertainment starts from £36/month.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

    • Hi there,
      The speed limit only applies when you’re using Vodafone’s network for data. If you’re using a Wi-Fi network (e.g. at home or outside), the speed limits will not apply.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Miss I don't know said:

    Hi Ken, thank you for the summary. I currently use a red plan with Vodafone and am due to upgrade. I’m just not sure which plan, red again or unlimited lite? Am worried if I choose lite my Internet browsing will be significantly slower? Is this the case? Or does it only matter when you download? Will it be significantly slower watching videos? Please help! Thank you! Miss I don’t know 🤷‍♀️

    • Hi there,
      Thanks for your comment. Do you know how much data you currently use? If it’s a lot less than 20GB per month, I’d probably recommend going for the Red plan. This is because you probably don’t need the unlimited data allowance, can save a couple of pounds every month and have uncapped download speeds. If you often use more than 20GB per month, the Unlimited plans would be more worth considering.
      With regards to how much of a slowdown you’ll see, I’ve written a bit more about this here. Unlimited Lite should probably be fine for most day-to-day usage (browsing, email, instant messaging, etc) but online video streaming will essentially be limited to standard definition.
      Ken

  • Really good summary – have just been trying to decide on whether to switch from BT to Vodafone Red plan and speaking to them via instant message was told that the Red plans are limited to 2-5Mbit/s download speed?

    Your summary seems to suggest this isn’t the case (which would make sense – the unlimited plans seem to be price-pointed based on the data download speeds whereas the red plans are price-pointed based on total data. It would be odd if the red plans were speed and capacity limited).

    Can I ask where you got your information from?

    • Hi there,
      The Vodafone Red price plans aren’t speed limited (the 1GB plan gives you uncapped 4G speeds, whereas the 5GB and 20GB plans give you uncapped 4G/5G speeds). This is stated on the Vodafone website, but you can also check with them directly via their web chat if you’d like to make sure! This should be accessible through a little pop-up on the right hand side of this page.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken
      Ken

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