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Vodafone Basics SIM only plans explained: are they any good?

Vodafone logo and a SIM cardVisit vodafone.co.uk

The retailers featured on this page may compensate us when our readers follow links to their websites and make a purchase. More

We look at the advantages and disadvantages to Vodafone's Basics SIMs to see if they'd be right for you. Here's what you do and don't get. Last updated: 5th May 2022.

Order a Vodafone Basics SIM only plan

Ready to buy? Join via Vodafone’s hidden page

Screenshot of Vodafone's hidden Basics SIM page

Vodafone don’t list their Basics SIMs directlyOrder a Basics SIM

at vodafone.co.uk
(opens in new window)

If you’re unfamiliar with Vodafone’s Basics SIMs or are thinking about taking one, then keep reading and you can find all the information you need to know on them on this page.

You won’t easily find Vodafone’s Basics SIMs on their website and the page to buy them can’t be found on Google, so it’s pretty hard to actually buy them.

If you’re absolutely sold on one of Vodafone’s Basics SIMs, you can take one at Vodafone.co.uk if you follow the link below.

Useful link: Order a Basics SIM card now

Vodafone Basics vs regular SIM only deals

What you need to know about Vodafone’s Basics SIMs

Vodafone Basics banner

These deals are hidden on Vodafone’s websiteSee hidden page

at vodafone.co.uk
(opens in new window)

We rated Vodafone highly as a network in our review of them. But one of the things we didn’t like about them was their steep costs, especially when Talkmobile, ASDA Mobile and VOXI offer lower prices on the same network.

Vodafone’s Basics SIMs are a way of keeping up with the competition. These are very low priced deals that cut out a lot of the extra features in order to keep costs down.

Here are the deals you can get with Vodafone’s Basics plans:

Each of these deals gets you unlimited minutes and texts with an allowance of 4G data. That’s basically all you get. You don’t get any other benefits with their Basics SIMs, other than low costs. Each comes on a 12-month contract.

Before you join up it’s worth knowing what you do and don’t get. In the next section we’ll go into more detail about the features that you’re missing out on with a Basics SIM.

Useful link: Get a Vodafone Basics SIM now

You get the same 4G speeds as usual, but no access to 5G

Vodafone 5G location map

You’re missing out on Vodafone’s expanding 5GSee latest locations

at vodafone.co.uk
(opens in new window)

All of the main UK networks have been rapidly expanding their 5G networks, and Vodafone are no exception. But Vodafone don’t offer 5G access on their Basics SIMs. In fairness, we think 4G is good enough for most users.

Vodafone used to cap speeds on Basics plans to 10 Mbps. But now you’ll get access to the same speeds you would get on a usual pay monthly plan. According to Opensignal their average speeds are around 21.6 Mbps.

You can watch HD videos on Youtube and other streaming apps fairly comfortably with those sorts of speeds, and you shouldn’t have any issues with your typical browsing needs. It might take some time to download files, however.

You’re completely free to change to a regular SIM only plan mid-contract. But you’ll end up paying more per month as their regular SIM only plans are much more expensive.

Useful link: More about Vodafone's 5G

Basics SIMs won’t work at all while abroad

Global Roaming on Vodafone

No roaming on Basics SIMsRead roaming guide

at vodafone.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Vodafone don’t let you roam at all with their Basics SIMs. It’s not just that you’ll have to pay to use your regular allowance, your SIM straight up won’t work while you’re abroad. It can only be used for emergency calls.

So, consider them as UK-only plans. In 2021, Vodafone changed their roaming so that it’s now only offered on premium plans. With their regular pay monthly plans you have to pay per day to use your UK allowance.

Vodafone don’t offer roaming at all on their Basics SIMs because they have to pay to have their signal hosted abroad with foreign networks. It’s just another way to keep their costs low with their Basics SIMs.

We generally rank Vodafone pretty low for inclusive roaming anyway. There are cheaper providers on Vodafone that offer better roaming, our favourite being ASDA Mobile who let you use your regular allowance (up to 25GB) on all plans.

Useful link: Vodafone’s roaming rules on Basics plans

These SIMs don’t offer WiFi calling or 4G calling either

Vodafone's WiFi calling

WiFi/4G calling come on Vodafone’s regular plansHow it works

at vodafone.co.uk
(opens in new window)

While you get both WiFi calling and 4G calling on Vodafone’s regular pay monthly plans at no extra cost, you don’t get these benefits on a Basics plan. So what are you missing?

Well, WiFi calling and 4G calling can be vital for improving indoor call signal, while 4G calling also improves general call coverage. You can check Vodafone’s network map to see if you’ll need these features.

But Vodafone don’t support every model. So if you’re already on a model that isn’t in Vodafone’s supported devices list, then it doesn’t make a difference if you take a Basics SIM anyway.

We think they’ve done this to offer their customers different price levels, but also to add value to their standard deals, which include a whole bunch of extras you don’t get with Basics.

Useful link: About Vodafone’s 4G calling and WiFi calling

Basics plans are way cheaper than Vodafone’s usual range

Vodafone reasons to buy

Better value per GB of data than regular plansOrder a plan now

at vodafone.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Vodafone generally work out as one of the priciest UK mobile networks. So, some customers might look for a way to get onto their network without breaking the bank.

In the dropdown below we compare the prices of their Basics SIMs against similar regular monthly deals. It’s not a one-for-one comparison as they don’t all offer the same data amounts, but it’s a way of seeing what sort of value they are.

Get over-the-phone customer service with Vodafone

Vodafone reliable network banner

How to contact them

at vodafone.co.uk
(opens in new window)

You get access to the same customer service avenues on Vodafone whether you’re on a Basics plan or a regular one. This is an advantage of being on a major network, so what can you expect from their customer service?

Well, Vodafone have their call centres open from 8am - 8pm every day of the week. You do have to go looking through their website a little bit to find their number, and it seems they’d rather you used their online chat-bot.

According to Ofcom, Vodafone receive 3 complaints per 100,000 customers. That’s above the current average across all networks of 2 per 100,000. It’s not massive, but it does hint that their call services aren’t the best.

Still, if you can’t get your issue resolved that way, Vodafone have many more ways of getting help. Many of the alternative providers don’t offer nearly as many, so it’s one advantage Vodafone hold over them.

Useful link: See our rankings for the best customer service networks

Alternatives to Vodafone Basics

Talkmobile offer the cheapest deals on the Vodafone network

Simple affordable plans banner

More features than Basics SIMs for a lower priceFind out more

at Talkmobile.co.uk
(opens in new window)

If you like the extra value you get with Vodafone’s Basics SIMs, we’d say Talkmobile are actually a much better alternative. They offer shorter contract options, WiFi and 4G calling as well as EU roaming as standard.

They don’t yet offer 5G, but you don’t get that on Vodafone’s Basics SIMs either (see our Talkmobile vs Vodafone guide here). You get all of that for typically lower prices than Vodafone’s Basics SIMs.

You will have to pass a credit check to get onto Talkmobile, just like with Vodafone’s Basics SIMs. But Talkmobile offer 1-month contracts that you can change or leave every month (if you give 30-days notice).

Overall we’d say Talkmobile are a great alternative to getting on a Basics SIM. You get more features, a better overall network experience and probably cheaper prices.

Useful link: Read our Talkmobile review

VOXI offer extra benefits to help you keep your data

VOXI's unlimited social media data

Social media use won’t eat into your allowanceSee how it works

at VOXI.co.uk
(opens in new window)

VOXI are certainly worth looking at if you want to get onto the Vodafone network. They’re cheaper than their hosts (a bit pricier than Basics SIMs) with some brilliant benefits on top (see our full guide to VOXI here).

On VOXI you get unlimited data for social media apps on all plans and even unlimited streaming data on their pricier plans. WiFi calling and 4G calling is standard on all plans but you do no longer get EU roaming.

VOXI’s 1-month deals tend to offer larger data allowances (Talkmobile offer some smaller plans). These let you change your plan every month, or leave when you want without giving notice.

There are also no credit checks on VOXI and their age-restrictions that you might have heard of are a thing of the past. Basically anyone can join VOXI.

Useful link: Order a free VOXI SIM card here

ASDA Mobile are another cheap and flexible option

Read our review

at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

One final low-cost alternative to Vodafone’s Basics SIMs are ASDA Mobile. They’re a low-frills network, but still get you WiFi calling and 4G calling as well as EU roaming in these destinations.

Like VOXI, all their SIM only plans are on 1-month deals, meaning you can leave or change plans at the end of each month. And there’s no credit checks to get onto their network.

In terms of value, they tend to be a little pricier than Talkmobile. But they do offer unlimited data plans, with different speed caps on these depending on which deal you choose.

In short they’re a highly flexible, lower-cost alternative to Vodafone’s Basics SIMs and are definitely worth considering if that’s what you’re looking for.

Useful link: Compare ASDA Mobile SIM only deals

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