Are Vodafone's Red Plans good value?

VodaFly
Overnight, Vodafone’s taken the wrapper off new premium unlimited “Red” plans. How do they compare to the rest of the unlimited offerings you can opt for?
Vodafone’s Red plans will be available from August 28th, and come in three 24 month contract variants only, either with or without a phone. The with-phone contracts run to $65, $80 and $100 respectively, with ‘infinite’ calls and texts to Australian mobiles, as well as the contract value in call credit towards 13 and 1800 numbers in Australia and international calls.
Red customers will also get a priority service line based in Hobart for when things go wrong. It’s a telco — things will go wrong, and that’s not meant to be a dig at Vodafone. Scratch the surface and you’ll find disaffected customers of every telco out there.
If you want the plan but not the phone, you cut $15 off the contract price, which means you save $360 over the life of the plan — or that Vodafone reckons a bundled phone is worth $360.
If you want additional data, you can buy it in $10 (1GB) or $20 (2.5GB) packs, but that incurs its own 12 month contract, as Gus over at Lifehacker notes. If you want ad-hoc additional data you pay the same amount month by month, but get half the data.
My big concern there is that while unlimited calls and texts may be nice, they’re actually low cost for carriers to provide, and it’s yet more evidence that data prices are starting to creep up, not down.
There are competing “unlimited” carriers in Australia, though. How do they compare? I’ve thrown in the major carriers, as well as the remaining prepaid unlimited carriers, although for the contract players I’ve assumed you also want a new phone. Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed a carrier.
[table]
Carrier,Plan,Monthly Cost,24 Month Minimum Cost,Calls,Texts,Data,Excess data
Vodafone,Red $65,$65 ,”$1,560 “,”Infinite within Australia, plus $65 for 13, 1800 and International calls”,Infinite (national/international),1.5GB,”$10/GB on contract, $10/500MB off contract”
Vodafone,Red $80,$80 ,”$1,920 “,”Infinite within Australia, plus $65 for 13, 1800 and International calls”,Infinite (national/international),2.5GB,”$10/GB on contract, $10/500MB off contract”
Vodafone,Red $100,$100 ,”$2,400 “,”Infinite within Australia, plus $65 for 13, 1800 and International calls”,Infinite (national/international),5GB,”$10/GB on contract, $10/500MB off contract”
Optus,My Plan $100,$100 ,”$2,400 “,”Unlimited minutes to standard Australian mobiles and landlines, 13/1300 numbers and voicemail”,Unlimited,3GB,$10 per GB sold in GB packs
Telstra,XL,From $130,From $3120,Unlimited,Unlimited,3GB,”$10 per GB, billed per MB”
Virgin,$90 ,$90 ,”$2,160 “,Unlimited,Unlimited,3GB,20.5c/MB
Virgin,Irresistible,$140 ,”$3,360 “,”Unlimited calls within Australia, $200 credit for International calls”,Unlimited,6GB,20.5c/MB
Aldi Mobile,Unlimited Pack (30 day prepaid),$35 ,$840 ,Unlimited (no International roaming),Unlimited,5GB,N/A
Boost Mobile,$10 (5 day expiry) ,$10 ,”$1,460 “,Unlimited (no International roaming),Unlimited,Up to 500MB,N/A
Boost Mobile,$20 (15 day expiry),$20 ,$960 ,Unlimited (no International roaming),Unlimited,Up to 1GB,N/A
Boost Mobile,$40 (30 day expiry),$40 ,$960 ,Unlimited (no International roaming),Unlimited,Up to 3GB,N/A
Amaysim,Unlimited,$39.90 ,$957.60 ,Unlimited (no International roaming),Unlimited,4GB,”$5 per GB, billed per MB”
Dodo,Mobile Smart Mega,$75 ,”$1,800 “,Unlimited,Unlimited,2GB,$15/GB
[/table]
(all prices are as per carrier websites as of today)
There are differences with the low-cost carriers; Aldi Mobile doesn’t have access to all of Telstra’s network and is 3G only — as are Amaysim, Boost and Dodo, and naturally enough their base level plans don’t include a phone, which changes the pricing matrix.
Unlimited is a nice tag to throw onto a plan because it gives a certain peace of mind, but I’d still say it’s worth doing your sums and working out what you actually use on a month by month basis, especially if you’re more of a data user than a talker. Paying too much is still paying too much, even if it’s giving you “unlimited” calls and texts.

Author: Alex

Alex Kidman is a multi-award winning Australian technology writer, former editor at Gizmodo, CNET, GameSpot, ZDNet, PC Mag, APC, Finder and as a contributor to the ABC, SMH, AFR, Courier Mail, GadgetGuy, PC & Tech Authority, Atomic and many more. He's been writing professionally since 1998, and his passions include technology, social issues, education, retro gaming and professional wrestling.

1 thought on “Are Vodafone's Red Plans good value?

  1. Let’s look back two years when Vodafone was offering the “unlimited” plans.. These were $45, which included a premium smartphone (Galaxy S3, which at the time was premium). They didn’t include as much data, granted, but with existing customer discounts you could get 1.2GB for less than $45 a month with all that same unlimited calls and texts. Additionally, the addon data packs are more expensive now as well.
    They discontinued those plans because they were being abused… so I wonder if now they’ve updated their FairUse policies to protect themselves. I have to wonder why it’s now $20 more per month (is inflation really $10/year??) for what is essentially the same plan but does NOT include a handset payment as part of the monthly spend.
    yeh.. I just don’t know.. I am sick of Vodafone making promises they can’t keep.. I’m coming to the end of that aforemention contract now, after 2 years, and I have been trying out the data connectivity and voice more than I normally do, to see if there is any real improvement for me… the answer is no. it’s still as inconsistent, even more so, as it was before. I can be standing in the same spot and can go from really decent data speeds to absolutely no connection in the blink of an eye. Just not worth it…… that is, it’s not worth having this unlimited calls/text and reasonable amount of data if you can’t use it because the network isn’t good enough.

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