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Vodafone pushes 4G data plans to 8GB of data per month
Wednesday 07 August 2013 14:01:43 by Andrew Ferguson

Mobile broadband providers are still playing catch-up in relation to data usage, as while for mobile use the new 8GB maximum allowance announced by Vodafone as part of its 4G roll-out is impressive it is still a long way behind the average monthly data use for a fixed line broadband connection.

4G pricing starts at £26 per month for a SIM-only deal that includes 2GB of data. The Vodafone Red 4G-ready plan on a 24 month contract with a 4G-ready handset starts at £34 per month. Three size of product are available, Vodafone Red 4G (from £34), Red 4G L (from £39) and Red 4G XL (from £44), the XL plan gives you the maximum 8GB usage allowance which is described as suitable for 'a serious amount of browsing, social networking and streaming', though with iPlayer easily running at 500 MB for each hour of viewing (SD quality) you might not want to watch too many hours of TV or film content.

Interestingly there are deals to encourage people to do more with their new 4G service, where you get six months of free Spotify Premium access or Sky Sports Mobile TV access. Subscribers to the L or XL plans get a full two years of free access to their subscription of choice. The Vodafone blog does not mention whether data usage for the two freebies is subtracted from your data allowance. Once your free period is over you can choose to pay the £4.99 per month for Sky Sports Mobile TV or £9.99 for Spotify Premium.

The debate over how many cannot get access to broadband should be almost solved if Vodafone meets its promise to deliver 4G coverage indoors to 98% of the UK population over the next couple of years too. We will just be happy when you can get some degree of uniform data coverage across the big cities. let alone indoors at home - hint can Vodafone fix the 3G not-spot just south of Clapham Junction station.


Posted by Apilar over 4 years ago
Wait for Three 4G.
Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
I don't think 4G is going to solve availability for many people. Mast contention and transmission issues (distance/weather/obstacles) mean I can't see it providing an adequate replacement for large numbers of people.

It remains to be seen but unicast wireless solutions rarely scale up in practice.
Posted by qasdfdsaq over 4 years ago
Three 4G will be very limited.

Vodafone is the only company at present with enough low frequency spectrum to provide decent long range, rural, and in building service as well as enough high frequency spectrum to provide high speed, high capacity urban services.

I'd be quite interested to see what they manage to achieve with it, but I'll be waiting till they come up with a PAYG proposition, I'm not signing up for another 12+ month contract just to find my data connection is non-functional for 9 months of the year...
Posted by qasdfdsaq over 4 years ago
Ironically, it looks like EE who were heavily criticized a few months ago for paltry 4G allowances now actually have the best - going up to 20GB/month for £1 less than Vodafone are charging for 8GB, and £10GB/month for less than Vodafone are charging for 4GB. Looks like competition is really heating up...
Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago
sticking with Three One plan on 3G then.

Perfectly happy with that and works a treat when connecting to my NAS.
Posted by gah789 over 4 years ago
The promise in the last paragraph will be regarded as a bad joke by those who struggle to receive even 2G service from Vodafone in rural areas of Scotland. As for 3G, forget it outside the main urban areas. Certainly it does not get close to 98% of the population.

Vodafone would need more masts and associated backhaul capacity to get close to this target but it has cut back on its UK investment budget. Promises without monetary guarantees or penalties are just empty talk.
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
everyone keeps going on about three but their network is incredibly slow everywhere I tried it and just seems its over congested.
Posted by jchamier over 4 years ago
chrysalis - you must live in a high usage area for 3, which is unusual given they have the least number of subscribers. Here colleagues report good 20meg speeds all day when Vodafone gets 4meg, and EE (3G) gets about 11meg. The problem for most of the others is sharing what they can afford with many more users.
Posted by acpsd775 over 4 years ago
where i live (obviously its not the same for everybody) but on three i get 20-22meg, o2 3meg orange 350k, t-mobile 6meg 4GEE 14meg and vodafone 1.6meg all done on lte/DC-HSDPA phone (sony xperia SP) (there will be some leeway up or down a slight bit but on average that what ive had)so were 3G in concerned i will give three a clear winner for me and cant wait for my free 4G upgrade
Posted by ScubaGirl over 4 years ago
A test will be to see how soon all the providers can actually extend their coverage across the whole of the UK, not just limited to the big cities. It will also be nice to see them properly compete with landline based broadband by offering unlimited data packages for a sensible price. Not everyone is able to get a landline fitted and many more live in 'not spots'.
Posted by DrPepper over 4 years ago
"Vodafone meets its promise to deliver 4G coverage indoors to 98% of the UK population over the next couple of years two." - Is that four years then?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
@DrPepper on the 'two' I could blame the spell checker, but was probably just a bad typo on my part.
Posted by john (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
@MrSaffron: There's a 2G not-spot too just south of Clapham Junction, before Earlsfield. Calls drop out there. Very annoying.
Posted by otester over 4 years ago

What device are you using?

Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
usb dongle.

areas tested leics and cromer. however the usb dongle died, so I guess its possible it was in partial death status.
Posted by otester over 4 years ago

Do you know the model?
Posted by qasdfdsaq over 4 years ago
To be honest I've seen 3 perform just as badly throughout most of Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Rarely see more than 3Mbps and once even saw a 64Kbps cap in place. Best I've seen on 3's DC-HSPA+ where I live is 6Mbps.

Given 3's strategy of using LTE to "augment" their existing HSPA network I hope they'll focus on areas with worst performance first to get them up to speed.

(Just for comparison, O2 here does 9Mbps peak and 12Mbps at night, that's without dual-cell, EE does 3Mbps to 12Mbps on 3G, again without DC, and 12-50Mbps on LTE. Testing on Vodafone usually just gets me a "Connection error")
Posted by leexgx over 4 years ago
my main issue with three is not-spots with no signal or very little signal or high data use on that cell that inturn makes the 3g brake for 1-2 mins when it switches between masts to fast (like what was shown on watchdog but they failed to test the phone on 2G Only to see if that fixed the issue with phone not working on 3G on an overloaded cell)

issue with THree is they are not implementing Voice over LTE so they still have same issues but what will happen the data abusers will hopefully move onto LTE devices making the 3G network little bit more reliable
Posted by leexgx over 4 years ago
interestingly i do not understand why the 3G broken issue does not seem to affect O2 as my HTC One phone on 3G only has for most part never got stuck in phantom network mode (got a network signal but no voice-SMS-data for 1-2 mins) just affects 3 more due to no 2G network to fall back to and masts are placed too far apart from each other typically (so phone hops between masts a lot) this issue happens on Orange/EE 3G as well (as to why i leave my BB on 2G only as the phantom network issue doesn't happen on 2G)
Posted by leexgx over 4 years ago
Three cover is 90-98% outdoor (no buildings)

I say its more like 60-70% indoors on Three network (masts are way to spread out + runs on 2100 band so brick walls are as good as lead walls)

never trust at all the coverage checker on Three site as its a lie most of the time(if you cab get (1% signal they class it as indoor coverage)

O2 seem to be the only network that are popping up Pole masts everywhere due to having the 3G900 for some time now, where as orange(EE) are taking some of them down
Posted by qasdfdsaq over 4 years ago
The "phantom network" issue I've never seen to affect LTE either, and that coupled with much faster connection setup times I'd expect to give 4G a much better "experience" than 3G ever was, right from the outset. That and the fact every network has 800Mhz spectrum now, means 4G potentially has longer range and better coverage than any previous technology, including even 2G.

Also, LTE tends to have much better performance at the "cell edge", i.e. with very weak signal than 3G. Even well into "zero bars" territory with a measured RSRP of -130dB a steady 10Mbps download is possible.
Posted by otester over 4 years ago

The other networks don't have unlimited packages to cater for.


Data abusers? You mean people that want to get their moneys worth?
Posted by qasdfdsaq over 4 years ago

Neither EE or Orange have unlimited packages, but T-Mobile does and that shares the same network, my O2 On and On tariff is also technically unlimited data minutes and texts too, and Vodafone gives all new customers unlimited data for the first 3 months.
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