Vodafone UK Has Decent Data Plans But Only If You're a UK Resident
If you plan to spend more than 2 months away, get ready to pay £24/Gb

Posted:
Dec. 19, 2017
Updated:
Oct. 15, 2018

This post makes the following assumptions: You are a digital nomad who works online while traveling internationally, you change countries frequently (every other month or more), and you need large amounts of data (more than 10 Gbs per month). If these assumptions do not apply to you, this advice may not, either.
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Once upon a time Vodafone was known as one of the best providers for data heavy users in the UK, due to their unlimited data plan. The unlimited plan is no longer, but they do still have some decent, very data-heavy sim plans for their UK users. However, as always with complex things like phone plans, the devil is in the details.

The Details

  • Many sim-only data plans available, on an annual, monthly, or pay-as-you-go basis.
  • Large data plans available, as high as 40 Gbs and occasional 50 Gb promotions.
  • At this moment, European Union Roam Like at Home rules apply, so you can use in any EU country without excessive roaming fees (at least until Brexit takes effect).
  • You may need UK bank account and bank card registered to a UK address

The Devil (ie the troublesome details)

There is one very important detail with Vodafone plans: if you plan to roam for longer than 2 months in any 4 month period, it can get very expensive. £24 ($32) per Gb expensive!

When I spoke to a customer service representative to understand the details of the plan, they told me:

We’ll send you a text requesting you moderate your usage in our Roam-free destinations if you use them for a total of 2 months or more during any 4-month period. If your usage in any of our Roam-free destinations continues to exceed this allowance after a 2-week period from which you first received this text, we may charge you for further use or bar your roaming services. We’ll always let you know before we do this.

And when I asker exactly how much the charge was, they said:

It will be £6 per 250 MB

It's important to know that this £6/250 Mb rate also applies if you go over your data allowance without purchasing a monthly additional data pack.

All this adds up to mean that Vodafone might be a decent deal for UK residents who plan to spend most of their time there, but for an international digital nomad who doesn't want to watch their data use like a hawk, it could get quite expensive. Odds are you're better off consulting the data sim wiki and topping up buying a new sim locally from time to time.

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