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

Vodafone logo and a SIM cardVisit

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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. SIM Sherpa is your trusty guide. Last updated: 18th February 2021.

Order a Vodafone Basics SIM only plan

Ready to join? Order on Vodafone's hidden page

Screenshot of Vodafone's hidden Basics SIM page

Vodafone's Basics SIM page is hiddenOrder a Basics SIM

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The Vodafone’s Basics SIMs page is not signposted on Vadafone’s official website and it is also hidden on Google, so you’re going to struggle finding it.

But, if you’ve decided to join Vodafone on one of their Basics SIMs, you’ll be able to choose your plan on by using the link below.

If you've not quite made up your mind yet, read the rest of this guide for an overview of all the pros and cons we've found with Vodafone's Basics plans.

Useful link: Order a Basics SIM card now

Vodafone Basics vs regular SIM only deals

Vodafone’s Basics SIM only plans in a nutshell

Vodafone Basics banner

Basics plans aren't openly advertisedSee hidden page

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As you’ll see in our review of joining Vodafone, we rate their actual mobile network as excellent. But, there are cheaper providers out there like Talkmobile and VOXI, that also use the Vodafone network.

So to keep up with the competition, Vodafone have introduced Basics SIMs. These are not only low-cost deals, they’re also low-frills with practically none of the added extras, which keeps the price down.

Here are the current plans available on Vodafone Basics:

You’ll get unlimited minutes and texts, as well as an allocation of 4G data with these 12-month deals, but don’t expect more than that, because that's pretty much it.

But before singing up, it’s important to get a full overview of what’s included and what’s not. And, there are some important things missing on Vodafone's Basics, which we’ll go through in the next section.

Useful link: Get a Vodafone Basics SIM now

Basics plans are speed limited and not 5G-ready

Vodafone 5G location map

You won't get 5G as it's rolled outSee latest locations

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Vodafone have a rapidly growing 5G network, but you won’t get access to it on Basics - even if your phone is 5G-ready. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker though, as 4G has proven itself more than adequate for years.

Basics come with a speed cap of 10 Mbps, which is similar to a non-fibre home broadband connection. We think that should be fine for basic usage, but you’ll likely need something faster for more demanding activities.

You’ll struggle when downloading things quickly at the last minute or watching in ultra high definition. But we’d say 10 Mbps should allow you to stream iPlayer, Netflix and YouTube in HD.

And you’re free to switch to one of Vodafone's regular SIM only plans mid-contract if you don’t get on with the speed. But remember, you’ll end up paying more per month as the regular plans are more expensive.

Useful link: More about Vodafone's 5G

Basics SIMs don’t support ANY roaming whatsoever

Global Roaming on Vodafone

Regular plans include at least EU roamingRead roaming guide

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You don’t get any roaming whatsoever with Basics SIMs. This is frustrating because every other pay monthly plan in the UK lets you use your regular minutes, texts and data abroad while you're in the EU.

Vodafone Basics can be considered a UK-only plan. That’s because it literally won’t work outside the UK (except for emergency calls). However, these alternatives do include roaming.

It is now a legal requirement that pay monthly deals include EU roaming at no extra cost. But, there is a loophole, which allows networks to offer UK-only plans. Vodafone use this loophole on their Basics plans.

Those that do include it have to pay foregin networks while you're roaming. Vodafone on the other hand are keeping costs down, so they can offer their Basics SIMs at a considerably lower price vs their regular plans.

Useful link: Vodafone’s roaming rules on Basics plans

You also don’t get 4G calling or WiFi calling

Vodafone's WiFi calling

Regular plans include WiFi/4G callingHow it works

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You automatically get 4G calling and WiFi calling included in Vodafone’s regular pay monthly SIMs. But neither of those services work on their Basics SIM only plan. So are you missing out?

4G calling and WiFi calling improve your indoor signal for making calls. You can get an indication of whether you need these services by checking your predicted Vodafone coverage here using their map.

But, not every phone has the technology to offer these features. So, if your phone doesn’t have it, then you’re not really missing out on anything when it comes to joining Basics SIM over Vodafone’s regular deals.

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 are much cheaper than Vodafone’s regular SIMs

Vodafone reasons to buy

The cheapest plans Vodafone have per GBOrder a plan now

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Vodafone’s regular SIM only deals tend to be among the UK’s most expensive. So, the fact that you’ll save money with a Basic SIM is the main reason for joining them.

Take a look at the dropdown below to get a good overview of the differences between the latest Basics plans compared to the nearest regular SIM. They don’t always match up perfectly, but you’ll get the idea.

Alternatives to Vodafone Basics

Talkmobile are an excellent alternative on Vodafone’s network

Simple affordable plans banner

Same simplicity, lower pricesFind out more

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It is definitely worth considering Talkmobile if you’re looking for a cheap deal on the Vodafone network. Not only will you get EU roaming, you’ll also have no data speeds limits and short contract options.

You won’t get WiFi calling or 4G calling on Talkmobile, but they have identical 2G/3G/4G coverage as being on Vodafone directly. That’s because they use the same network infrastructure (read our Vodafone vs Talkmobile guide here).

And, if you’ve struggled to get accepted on other networks, you might be pleased to hear that there's no credit check to join Talkmobile (there is one even on Vodafone Basics) - making it a great option.

All in all, we think Talkmobile are an excellent alternative. They are on the Vodafone network, simple, cheap and come with less restrictions than Basics.

Useful link: Read our Talkmobile review

If you’re after lots of data, VOXI are a good alternative

VOXI's unlimited social media data

Use social media without it using dataSee how it works

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It’s also worth taking a look at Vodafone’s sub-brand VOXI’s SIM only plans if you’re looking for a cheap, no-frills way to get on the Vodafone network (read our full review of VOXI here).

VOXI give you unlimited data for using various social media apps and EU roaming is also included. But just like Basics SIMs, you don’t get WiFi calling or 4G calling.

VOXI offer larger data amounts (Talkmobile are better for small plans). And you can change your mind easily as they’re only on 1-month deals.

The under 30s will be happy to hear that they can now join because the network got rid of their old under 30 age limit. Plus there’s no credit check either.

Useful link:Order a free VOXI SIM card here

Compare Basics vs all SIM only deals

Compare all SIM only plans

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