Vodafone 'Red' plan offers unlimited texts and calls
Vodafone claims to have launched its best ever deal, the 'Red' plan, which boasts unlimited calls and texts. But is it really any good and how does it compare to the rest of the market?
Vodafone's latest tariff, the 'Red' plan, includes unlimited free calls, texts and 1GB of data which it says beats similar deals from competitors.
Just days before the rumoured unveiling of the iPhone 5, this new pay-monthly tariff offers value for money and simplicity in an effort to bring in more customers and from the outset it looks impressive.
If you choose the Red plan you’ll get unlimited texts and calls along with either 1GB of data (starting from £29) or 2GB (starting at £34).
The company wants to promote the fact that the calls and texts are ‘truly’ unlimited because this applies across all networks, to mobiles and landlines. This is better than similar competitor deals which only include unlimited calls to customers on the same network.
Data test drive
Another benefit of the new offering is something called the data test drive. This is for people who aren’t really sure exactly how much data they will need and don’t want to sign up for a two-year contract on the wrong allowance.
On the scheme, you are given as much data as you need for the first three months and then afterwards you will be told exactly how much you’ve used so you can choose the right tariff to meet your needs.
What handsets are included?
The deal is available across all Vodafone handsets but the price changes depending on which one you have. For example, if you’re looking for an iPhone, tariffs start at £37 a month for the iPhone 4 with no upfront costs.
This stays the same for the newer iPhone 4S but you’ll also have to pay a one-off cost of £49 for the handset.
Samsung’s Galaxy S3 also starts at £37 a month and you’ll have to pay £29 for the 16GB model and £59 for the 32GB.
How can I apply?
Unfortunately it’s only available for new customers or those who are about to upgrade, so if you’ve just signed a new contract you’ll have to wait until it finishes before you can join.
Before you think about getting a new phone you need to decide how you’re going to pay for it. The most popular tariffs are longer, around two years, and the handset costs are absorbed into the price.
It’s cheaper to buy a phone outright and use a sim-only deal, but you will need to have the cash in the first place for this.
Our comparison tables show a full view of the market and more options can be found in our article on how to get the cheapest new smartphone, which also includes step-by-step instructions for upgrading.
Rest of the market
Vodafone promotes this deal as the ‘best ever value’ and says it beats similar deals from O2, T-Mobile, Orange and 3. Is that true?
The On & On deal from O2 starts at £20 a month and includes unlimited calls, texts and 1GB of data. If you want more data you can pay an extra £5 and increase this to 2GB, but this is a sim-only deal so you’ll have to pay out for the handset separately.
If you want the phone included prices start at £26 and there are 10 models, including the Sony Xperia and Samsung Galaxy S3, but you’ll need to pay out £199.99 and £299.99 upfront for these phones respectively.
For those after an iPhone you’ll need to pay out more. Tariffs start at £36 for the plan and £99 upfront for the iPhone 4S.
T-Mobile’s answer to this kind of simplicity tariff is called ‘The Full Monty’ and again includes unlimited texts, calls to T-Mobile customers and data and starts at £36 a month.
At this price you get more data than the Vodafone deal, so if you use the internet a lot it could be a better option.
Calls are only free to other T-Mobile users though, so it won’t be right for you unless everyone you know is also on T-Mobile, or you don’t use your phone for calls that often.
There’s also a limit of 32 handsets available at this price and this doesn’t include the iPhone, which is only available at the £41 monthly tariff.
The Panther from Orange is the provider's most similar tariff and this includes unlimited texts, 600 minutes and 1GB of data for £36.
It's cheaper than the Vodafone deal (albeit with less minutes) but it's not available on the iPhone 4S.
Despite being a slightly smaller player in the smartphone world, 3 has a lot of competitive deals, especially when it comes to high-end models like the iPhone.
Its ‘One Plan’ includes unlimited data, 2,000 minutes, 5,000 minutes to other 3 customers and 5,000 texts, with prices starting from £31.
If you want the iPhone 4S you can get it for £33 a month on this tariff with an upfront cost of £29. Over two years this works out at £116 cheaper than the Vodaphone deal and you'll get a higher internet data allowance.
You won’t have as many minutes or texts, but you will still get a pretty generous allowance which will be enough to suit most users.
Would you consider signing up to Vodafone’s Red deal? Or are you on a better contract? Let me know in the box below.