Vodafone’s iPhone 4S plans seem to have forgotten data

Vodafone released their iPhone 4S plans, and I feel very disappointed.

Vodafone have a superior number of Texts versus Telecom on all but Telecom’s most expensive plan, which matches the 2500 texts.

Their voice… well who cares. Forget about the worrying ‘no plan transfers’ as well, and head straight for that data line. The maximum available is just 500Mb per month, with a $20 1GB add-on to take it to a real maximum of 1.5Gb a month. Telecom’s maximium data per month on iPhone is 2GB with a 4GB add-on for $80 plus another automatic 4GB for another $80, all of which which is 10GB of data a month before punitive rates set in. It’s not even close, indeed it’s an order of magnitude.

That 1GB data add-on is free for the first 6 months, and at $20 for 1GB after that is at an equivalent rate to Telecom’s 4GB $80 add-on. It’s a reduction from previously, where 3GB was included for free.

However the biggest failing is that it is only possible to have one add-on at a time.


It’s worse.

[I cannot (yet) find the data charges once you go over your limit. This makes or breaks Vodafone’s plans, as if the charges are pro-rated then they are on a winner, but if they are punitive then they risk losing tremendous goodwill.]

Thanks to Twitter and @matt_tong I’ve finally found that the punitive rate is $200 per GB (quoted as 20c/MB). I failed to find it directly but it seems simple now it is pointed out to me – this is for the largest plan. We find the usual penalty rates, and an incredible charge for video calls, which I hope is not Facetime, but am deeply concerned that it is.

Why so low?

I’m not sure why Vodafone have done this. Perhaps they are using their own data calculator. Here’s a reasonable one I did for myself. It missed several large categories of data use.


Here’s one I did for just web browsing. Let’s ignore youtube and everything else, and just think about web browsing. I plugged in 24 hours of web browsing a day and nothing else, and got back a result of 4.8GB.

However browsing for 24 hours a day, with say a page every 2 minutes results in 720 pages a day, or 21,600 pages a month. If each page were about 0.5 MB, for simplicity, in that time, so that’s about 10,800 Mb, or 6.3 GB if I were really browsing for that time.

Here are the data packs avaialble to buy. I’ve calaulcated how many pages that equals per month at 1MB per page.

The other plans are amusingly quaint. So it seems there is a bit of a disconnect here – the calculator is behind the times.


This stuff makes me angry because these low data caps are a self-fulfilling prophesy. When we have low caps then we use less data, and so carriers will provide less as a result. While I’m an advocate for high caps or no caps, it’s sad when there is no large usage plan.

It’s not about the voice or texts any more – it’s the data, and while Vodafone has to pay Telecom for their international and backhaul, it’s us the consumers that are suffering from these caps.

Published by Lance Wiggs


7 replies on “Vodafone’s iPhone 4S plans seem to have forgotten data”

  1. I too was very disappointed to see the vodafone pricing. I thought it would interesting to compare with the UK vodafone site (since that’s where they are based): http://www.vodafone.co.uk/brands/iphone/pay-monthly-iphone/index.htm
    The data is also quite small but still about double, plus unlimited texts for a roughly comparable price. Makes vodafone NZ’s plans seem pretty poor. Maybe they are banking on the hype to sell these plans – better ones to follow?


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