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Vodafone 4G Coverage and Network Review

12th October 2017

Vodafone Network Coverage

Vodafone launched its 4G mobile network on 28th August, 2013 when its coverage was limited to London only. It purchased the largest amount of 4G frequency spectrum in the UK's 4G auction and is well placed to offer first-class 4G services.

Vodafone currently has 95% UK 4G population coverage across over 928 larger towns, cities and districts, as well as thousands of smaller communities. The network has over 7.5 million 4G subscribers and plans to provide 4G coverage to 98% of the UK population as soon as possible.

Pros

Cons

Good 4G coverage

Not the cheapest network

4G roaming

No unlimited data plans

Inclusive entertainment

Not as fast as EE

Our Rating

Coverage

Vodafone's network offers very good coverage across the UK with 95, 96 and 99 per cent 4G, 3G and 2G poplulation coverage respectively. That puts them in third place in raw figures, being beaten by EE and O2, but with Vodafone making significant progress in the last couple of years thanks to a £2 billion investment in their mobile and fixed networks.

Network Type Coverage by population
4G  95%
3G 96%
2G 99%

Use Vodafone’s coverage checker below to find out more about Vodafone coverage in your area, including signal strengths and details on both indoor and outdoor coverage.

4G from Vodafone is now available in over 928 larger towns and cities including but not limited to:

Basingstoke, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bradford, Brighton, Coventry, Dudley, Edinburgh, Epsom, Ewell, Folkestone, Gateshead, Glasgow, Hatfield , Hove and Hastings, Hemel Hempstead, Huddersfield, Jarrow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Maidstone, Newbury, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oldham, Pontefract, Portsmouth, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield, Slough, Stockport, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Staines, Stourbridge, Swinton, Southampton, Tunbridge, Wakefield, Walsall, Watford, Wells and West Bromwich.

Vodafone’s 4G service is also available in thousands of smaller villages and other communities across the UK. Recent locations to get a Vodafone 4G upgrade include: Newport PagnellSt Neots, LeominsterKingsteignton, Penrith, Troon, Milford Haven and Blandford Forum.

And that's just a small selection of the latest additions. Vodafone is also regularly improving its 4G coverage in places which already have it. For example, it's currently considering the placement of a new mast in Barry.

Network Speeds and Frequencies

For the most part Vodafone just uses standard 4G, which is around 5 times faster than a typical 3G network. However, it’s also started rolling out LTE Advanced in select locations, which is typically 20 times faster than a standard 3G network.

Vodafone’s average 4G download speed is 20.7Mbit/sec, while its average 4G upload speed is 10.11Mbits/sec. This means it’s plenty fast enough to stream YouTube videos and Spotify songs without any buffering, and will let you upload snaps to social networks quickly.

  • Average Download Speed: 20.70 Mbit/sec
  • Average Upload Speed: 10.11 Mbit/sec

Vodafone used the 800MHz and 2600MHz bands for 4G. These are at opposite ends of the spectrum, with one band’s strength being the other’s weakness. Specifically, the 800MHz band is long range and good at penetrating walls, making it useful in both rural locations (where there aren’t many masts) and more built up areas.

But it doesn’t always have the capacity to deal with large numbers of connections, which the 2600MHz band does. For more in depth information, check out our 4G frequencies guide.

  • 800MHz used for 4G
  • 900MHz used for 2G/3G
  • 1800MHz used for 2G
  • 2100 MHz used for 3G
  • 2600 MHz used for 4G

4G LTE Advanced (3 times faster than standard 4G)

Vodafone has also begun rolling out a 4G LTE Advanced network (sometimes known as LTE-A, 4G+ or 4.5G). This is far faster than normal 4G and is currently available in London, Birmingham and Manchester.

Plans

Vodafone offers a range of Pay Monthly and SIM Only plans, or you can opt to Pay As You Go. Plans are further split into ‘Essentials’, ‘Red Extra’ or ‘Red Entertainment’. You can see what you get with each below, but all plans come with 4G at no extra cost.

Pay Monthly Phone Plans

 

Essentials

Red Extra

Red Entertainment

Tethering

Yes

Yes

Yes

Wi-Fi Calling

No

Yes

Yes

Inclusive Entertainment

No

No

Yes

Max Data Allowance

500MB 40GB 60GB

Contract Length

24 Months 24 Months 24 Months

Compare Vodafone Phone Deals and Save

Vodafone’s Pay Monthly plans are split into Essentials, Red Extra and Red Entertainment Plans. Essentials plans are the cheapest, but come with the lowest data allowances.

Red Extra plans up the data limits substantially and add Wi-Fi Calling. Red Entertainment plans up the data limits even higher and give you inclusive entertainment, with a choice of Spotify Premium, Sky Sports Mobile TV or Now TV.

SIM Only Plans

 

Essentials

Red Extra

Red Entertainment

Tethering

Yes

Yes

Yes

Wi-Fi Calling

No

Yes

Yes

Inclusive Entertainment

No

No

Yes

Max Data Allowance

10GB 20GB 40GB

Contract Length

1 or 12 Months 1 or 12 Months 12 Months
Compare Vodafone SIM Only deals

SIM Only plans have a similar split to Pay Monthly ones, so you can get basic Essentials plans if cost is your key concern (or flexibility in this case, as they are available in 30 day or 12-month options).

Then there’s Red Extra plans, which come with more data and add Wi-Fi Calling, while Red Entertainment plans come with the most data and gives you access to a choice of Spotify Premium, Sky Sports Mobile TV or Now TV, but they're only available on a 12-month contract.

Data Only Plans – For Tablets and Dongles

Vodafone also offers Data Only plans for tablets, MiFi devices and dongles. These come with data but no minutes or texts and are available on 1 or 12-month contracts with up to 50GB of data.

Pay As You Go

Vodafone offers a range of 30-day Big Value Bundles, each of which renews automatically. You can see details of them in the table below.

Note that tethering is included on Vodafone Pay As You Go and any unused data rolls over to the next month - assuming you renew your bundle.

Bundle

Minutes

Texts

Data

£5 Big Value Bundle

100

250

100MB

£10 Big Value Bundle

200

Unlimited

1GB

£20 Big Value Bundle

1000

Unlimited

6GB

£30 Big Value Bundle

3000 Unlimited 20GB

 

If you don’t have a bundle or use it all up you’ll be charged 30p per minute, 14p per text and £2 per 50MB, then 10p per megabyte thereafter.

Vodafone Roaming Destinations

Not only does Vodafone offer 4G in the UK, but also abroad. The network offers inclusive roaming at no extra cost in the following locations:

Albania, Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (inc Corsica), French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Madeira, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (inc Balearic Islands), Sweden, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, San Marino, Saint Martin, Switzerland, Turkey and Vatican City.

Many but not all of them include 4G speeds. That's a similar selection of locations to most other UK networks, as they're all required to offer free roaming in the EU, but they're not required to offer 4G speeds, and if you're roaming further afield on Vodafone you can do so for £5 per day in its Roam Further locations, which include:

Anguilla, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Serbia, Antigua and Barbuda, Costa Rica, Israel, Singapore, Argentina, Curacao, Jamaica, Sint Eustatius, Aruba Dominica, Japan, Sint Maarten, Australia, Dominican Republic, Kenya, South Africa, Barbados, Ecuador, Lesotho, St Kitts and Nevis, Bermuda, Egypt, Mexico, St Lucia, Bonaire, El Salvador, Mozambique, St Vincent, Brazil, Ghana, New Zealand, Suriname, British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Panama, Thailand, Canada, Guatemala, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago, Cayman Islands, Guyana, Puerto Rico, Turks & Caicos, Chile, Haiti, Qatar, Uruguay, China, Hong Kong, Russia, US Virgin Islands, Colombia, India, Saba, and the US.

Conclusion

Vodafone is a well-rounded network, with high data limits (though not unlimited data), speedy 4G roaming abroad in many locations, and strong 4G coverage at home. Plus, if you spend enough you can get extras thrown in, like entertainment packages.

It’s not the fastest network, nor the cheapest, and its 4G coverage isn’t quite the best (but it’s up there) but it does a good job of balancing price with features.

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