Beginning life as a pioneer in mobile phone services in the 1980s, Vodafone is now one of the UK’s major quad-play telecommunications providers. Today it serves around 625 million mobile customers but has also branched out, now also serving 27 million fixed broadband connections and over 20 million TV subscribers.
While you’re probably pretty familiar with Vodafone Mobile, is it worth considering its other services? What exactly is its offer? This page will take you through the company in full, hopefully leaving no questions unanswered.
Vodafone is, of course, best known for being a mobile provider - a sector in which it is a world leader, operating directly in 24 countries in which it caters to almost 450 million customers. In the UK, almost 20 million customers use Vodafone’s services, which since its beginnings in mobile have broadened to include broadband (link coming soon), home phone and TV services. We’re now going to go a bit deeper into the story of Vodafone from its beginnings as a mobile trailblazer:
In its beginnings, Vodafone emerged as the result of a joint venture between Racal Electronics - a military radio technology company - and early mobile phone pioneers Millicom. Its original name was simply ‘Racal’, but this didn’t last as a consumer brand name and a rebrand with the addition of the new name Vodafone announced in 1984.
Racal-Vodafone (Holdings) Ltd’s first office was opened in Newbury, Berkshire on 1st of January, 1985. In the late 80s, Racal Telecom was floated separately on the London Stock Exchange, initially with just 20% of its stock made available, but under pressure to make its full value available to shareholders it was demerged from 1991 - this is when Vodafone Group was born.
In its early years as an independent company, Vodafone began acquiring small competitors such as Talkland, Peoples Phone and Astec Communications, whose customers mostly used Vodafone’s network. This expanded Vodafone’s presence in terms of stores in the UK and cemented its status as the country’s leading mobile network provider.
In 1997, following a change of CEO, Vodafone’s iconic speech mark logo was introduced. A couple of years later, it acquired both AirTouch Communications (changing its name to Vodafone AirTouch in the process) and Mannesmann, a German company which had recently acquired another of the UK’s major networks - Orange.
In 2000, it reverted to the name Vodafone Group plc, and began the decade with an innovation - by signing a deal with TDC Mobil in Denmark, it introduced the concept of ‘partner networks’, which allowed users of Vodafone’s network to use TDC’s network while in Denmark. Its sponsorship of the McLaren F1 team later in the decade cemented its position as a major UK brand.
In 2012, Vodafone began again to make acquisitions, this time in the area of cloud computing and fibre internet (by purchasing ICT company Bluefish Communications Ltd and Cabe & Wireless Worldwide). This was initially to expand its offer in the area of professional services, but this expansion grew to include consumer products, which became available with the launch of Vodafone Broadband in 2015.
- 1983 - The Racal Electronics Group succeeds in acquiring a private sector UK Cellular license.
- 1984 - The Vodafone brand is launched on the 22nd of March.
- 1985 - Vodafone launches the country’s first analogue mobile network, with the first mobile phone call in the UK made on the 1st of January.
- 1987 - Its mobile network becomes the largest in the world. The voicemail service Vodafone Recall is launched. Vodapage, a paging network covering 80% of the UK, is also established.
- 1988 - Racal Telecomms Plc is floated on the stock exchanges in London and New York.
- 1991 - Vodafone splits from its merger with Racal, listing itself as an independent company.
- 1993 - First Vodafone store is opened. Vodafone Group International is established to oversee overseas ventures.
- 1994 - Vodata is launched to deliver data, fax and text messaging services over a new digital network. Vodafone joins the Globalstar consortium to develop a new satellite mobile phone service.
- 1996 - Vodafone becomes the first network to launch a pay monthly package. Per second billing is introduced on Vodafone’s digital network, as well as bundles with minutes and landline calls included.
- 1999 - Vodafone Group and AirTouch Communications merge to create Vodafone AirTouch Plc
- 2000 - Vodafone becomes the world’s largest mobile telecoms company after doubling in size following its acquisition of Mannesmann AG. It acquires the largest available 3G license in the UK.
- 2001 - Vodafone adds instant messaging to its network, and becomes the first network to offer pay monthly contracts and roaming. First 3G call is made on its network.
- 2002 - Launch of Vodafone live! and Mobile Office.
- 2007 - Vodafone introduces Secure Remote Access for people working remotely to secure their data.
- 2010 - The reward scheme Vodafone VIP is launched, as well as Vodafone One Net - a business solution merging mobile and landline numbers.
- 2013 - Launch of Vodafone’s 4G network in London.
- 2014 - HD Voice calls are introduced to the UK.
- 2015 - Vodafone launches WiFi Calling, allowing users to make calls on WiFi if their phone signal is poor. It also launched Vodafone Broadband to the UK.
- 2016 - Becomes the first provider to abolish the need to take out line rental in its broadband contracts.
- 2017 - Is the first UK operator to get rid of roaming charges in many destinations with Vodafone Global Roaming. It also introduces TOBi, an AI robot which provides fast web chat services to customers.
Nowadays, Vodafone claims to be a leader in communications technology across four sectors - mobile, broadband, fixed line and TV - though it remains most prominent, of course, in mobile. Its 625 million customers in this sector make this a difficult point to argue, and 27 million broadband customers and 22 million TV customers make it no small player in these markets either. It is currently chaired by Nick Read, and operates directly in 24 countries while having partnership agreements in a total of 41. In short, it is without a doubt one of the world’s largest and most significant telecoms companies.
Vodafone share price
The past five years have seen Vodafone shares drop in value from more than £250 in May of 2015 to a low of less than half that in the same month of 2019. They have since seen an increasing trend, rising to a value of £160 by this past November and now sitting at around £155. The company will hope to recover the value it saw before this period of Brexit-related uncertainty hit and lift itself above £200 once Brexit is finalised.
If a job with Vodafone is what you’re after, you should head to the Vodafone Careers site. To keep you up to date with job offers as they’re published on the site, you can register your email and join Vodafone’s ‘Talent Network’ to be kept up to date with regular emails. You can also search for jobs using keywords or by clicking through to find vacancies in the department you’re interested in. Vodafone offers jobs in the following areas:
- Contact centres
- Corporate functions
- Early careers
- Shared services
As well as listings, the Careers site also offers a glimpse into what life is like working for Vodafone, with videos and articles available to view about what you can expect from a career at Vodafone. You can also check out jobs further afield, as Vodafone posts for openings not just in the UK but all over the world - at the time of writing, there are openings in New Zealand, the US, South Africa and India as well as closer to home.
For more information on getting a job with Vodafone, head to its Careers site now.
Vodafone in the News
- 17/1/2020 - BT and Vodafone lobby the UK Prime Minister to allow the use of Huawei equipment. The two CEOs have drafted a letter to the PM stating that they have seen no evidence that Huawei tech poses a security risk to warrant a ban.
- 21/1/2020 - Vodafone will join the UK providers offering full-fibre broadband deals. The provider’s new Gigafast Broadband service, launched in partnership with CityFibre, will offer download and upload speeds of 900 Mbps to people in 12 UK towns and cities after the first phase of its deployment.
- 24/1/2020 - Vodafone revealed to be UK’s most complained about provider by latest Ofcom report. The report on the quality of broadband service in 2019 shows that Vodafone received 7 complaints for every 100,000 subscribers last year.
That’s enough background to be getting on with. Let’s get down to talking about the services you as a consumer can get with Vodafone:
Since entering the broadband market in 2015, Vodafone has secured a significant client base, so it must be doing something right. The first thing that we noticed about its broadband products is that it has done away entirely with standard ADSL broadband, focusing instead on just two fibre broadband packages. Here they are:
|Superfast 1||Superfast 2|
|35 Mbps avg. download speed||63 Mbps avg. download speed|
|10 Mbps max. uploads||20 Mbps max. uploads|
|£23 per month||£23 per month|
|18-month minimum term||18-month minimum term|
|Line rental included||Line rental included|
|£0 upfront cost||£0 upfront cost|
Vodafone Broadband Down? If you're Vodafone broadband is not working, you can find out how to fix it by reading our Vodafone Broadband Down guide.
The second thing we noticed, as you no doubt will have, is that the monthly cost of these two very different speeds is the same - the only thing holding you back from picking Superfast 2 rather than Superfast 1 is that it may not be available in your area. £23 is a seriously tempting deal for 35 Mbps average downloads, let alone 63 Mbps, so we wouldn’t blame you for checking to see if you are eligible!
Vodafone pay-monthly mobile users get an even better deal, as they’re able to add whichever package is available to them to their monthly bill for £21 a month - a £2 monthly saving. Like non-mobile customers, they’ll also receive the following benefits from Vodafone Broadband:
- Ultimate Broadband Guarantee - a guarantee of at least 25 Mbps minimum speeds on Superfast 1 and 55 Mbps on Superfast 2 or money off until it’s fixed.
- A six month free trial of F-Secure SAFE anti-virus protection software to protect up to five devices.
- No download limits.
- Vodafone router included as standard.
- Access to the Vodafone Broadband app.
- Access to parental controls.
The Ultimate Broadband Guarantee is a particularly interesting feature - it offers discounts to your monthly bill if your broadband speeds dip below the minimum standard Vodafone sets. Users can check their speeds using the Vodafone Broadband app and claim their discount in the app as well. This gives customers the assurance that, even if their service is not always at 100%, at least they will be compensated when it’s not.
If you don’t know which speed your household needs to fulfil its broadband needs, check out our guide to broadband speeds. Once you do know, the best way to find the best deal on the speed you need is to check for availability in Vodafone's postcode checker, which you'll find on its website.
Though it’s not required that you take out line rental with Vodafone, all of its broadband customers are eligible for free line rental with their deal should they want it. This, however, only applies for the duration of your initial contract - the price of line rental then charged at £3 per month after your initial term. Vodafone also says that you may have to fork out £60 if a new phone line needs to be installed at your house.
Here’s a list of calls add-ons that Vodafone offers to those who wish to include line rental in their deal:
- Evening & Weekends Calls: £4 per month - defined as 7pm to 7am, Monday to Friday and midnight Friday to midnight Sunday.
- Anytime Landline and Mobile Calls: £8 per month
- International 300: £5 per month - includes 300 minutes per month to select destinations listed in Vodafone’s calls price plan.
Remember not to chat for over an hour!Bear in mind that calls with all providers are only inclusive up to 60 minutes, and that for every minute you go over you’ll be charged the standard rate. If you want to avoid the charge, just hang up and redial before you reach the hour.
You’ll have to keep whichever services you decide to add for at least a month, but are free to cancel during this time and the item will be removed from your bill for the following month. If you decide to use your free line rental as a pay as you go customer or use your landline outside of your inclusive calls, you’ll be charged according to the following structure:
|UK Landlines||UK Mobiles|
|19p connection charge||19p connection charge|
|11.5p per minute||13p per minute|
Calls to 0800 and 0808 (freephone) numbers are, of course, excluded from these charges. Calls to international destinations vary significantly by country, so we haven’t included them here - you can find a detailed rundown in Vodafone’s Price Plan, which you’ll find by clicking through the terms and conditions section of the Vodafone website.
Vodafone is now getting involved in TV services through a partnership with Apple TV. Through this partnership, it is bundling Apple TVs and Apple TV subscriptions in with a special broadband deal. You can’t get a TV or TV services through Vodafone outside of these two specific deals, which are the following:
|Superfast 1 Extra||Superfast 2 Extra|
|35 Mbps avg. download speed||63 Mbps avg. download speed|
|£31 per month||£31 per month|
|24-month minimum term||24-month minimum term|
|Apple 4K TV included||Apple 4K TV included|
|1 year Apple TV+ subscription included||1 year Apple TV+ subscription included|
|£0 upfront cost||£0 upfront cost|
The same basic benefits are included in these packages as are in the fibre broadband packages without TV - the Ultimate Broadband Guarantee, the F-Secure SAFE free trial, line rental as standard - and customers also receive the following benefits apart from the TV and Apple TV + subscription:
- Ultimate Anytime Calls to UK landlines and mobiles as standard.
- Fixed price guarantee for the duration of your 24-month contract.
Once again the prices are also the same for Superfast 1 as they are for Superfast 2, so the only thing holding those who want the fastest deal back is availability in their area. Pay monthly mobile customers also get the same £2 per month off these deals that they do from the normal fibre deals, and the £29 a month they would pay for Superfast 2 Extra is about as tempting as broadband gets on paper.
When will I get my Apple 4K TV and how do I start watching?Your Apple 4K TV should be delivered at the same time an engineer comes to deliver your Wi-Fi Hub and get you set up. You’ll then have to activate Apple TV + within three months. It will be free for a year and automatically renew unless you cancel it - you can see the full terms on the Vodafone website.
If you’re looking for Vodafone’s mobile solutions for business, you’re best off heading over to our Vodafone Mobile page. If it’s business broadband solutions you’re after, however, you’ll find information about this on our Vodafone Broadband page (link coming soon). We won’t go into it on this page.
How do Vodafone’s prices compare with the market average?
So you know how much Vodafone Broadband will set you back and it sounds great, but how do you know you’ll be getting a good deal without comparing it with the rest of the market? Now we’re going to do exactly that. We’ll start with Superfast 1, comparing it for price with the price other major providers are offering for the same speed:
|Vodafone Superfast 1||Market average (35 Mbps)|
|£23 per month||£31 per month|
A full £8 per month saving is an impressive saving to be made here, especially when you consider that this isn’t even the cheapest you could get Superfast 1 for - pay monthly mobile customers would save a tenner on their deal! Not only this, but other providers don’t put their money where their mouth is and guarantee a reasonable minimum speed. The fact that it does means that if, like many providers, Vodafone fails to meet this standard, you’ll at least be saving even more money.
You won’t have forgotten, we assume, that Vodafone charges the same for Superfast 2 as it does for Superfast 1. Let’s see what this means for a comparison between Superfast 2 and the market average price for similar speeds:
|Vodafone Superfast 2||Market average (63 Mbps)|
|£23 per month||£40 per month|
A huge saving here of at least £17 per month - £19 for pay monthly mobile customers - makes this as cheap a deal on this sort of broadband speed that you’re likely to find in the UK. If it’s available to you, we’d be hard pressed for a reason you shouldn’t give it a try (though you might want to see reviews for Vodafone before you sign on the dotted line). Vodafone’s guarantee of at least 55 Mbps speeds also provides an assurance that few other providers are willing to assure.
My Vodafone account
All Vodafone customers are able to manage their account - be it for Mobile, Broadband, Home Phone or TV - via My Vodafone either on the website or the app for smartphones and tablets. The app is free to download and allows users to do the following more easily:
- Check on your monthly usage
- View and pay your bills
- Claim rewards
- Get help from TOBi, Vodafone’s virtual agent
- Check your network and WiFi speed
- Manage your Vodafone services
The only issue with the app seems to be that you need to have a Vodafone SIM using data to access it for the first time, which is a problem if you’ve only signed up for broadband with them. Broadband users should still, however, be able to access My Vodafone online via the website. If you do have a Vodafone SIM, however, you can download the app without any problem in the App Store and in Google Play.
For more details on the My Vodafone app and how it works, including a section on what users think of it, see our Vodafone Login page (link coming soon).
Get in touch with Vodafone
Depending on what you want to contact Vodafone for, there are a few ways you could go about it. If you’re not a Vodafone customer and you just want to give them a ring to make an order or inquire about their broadband services, you can do so by calling the number below:
Vodafone sales team contact
Please check with your provider if you don't know how much a call will cost.
08080 034 511
*Lines open 24 hours, 7 days a week
The number is free to call from UK landlines and mobiles. For Vodafone Mobile, you’ll need a different number which you’ll find in our Mobile section. If you prefer to browse broadband deals and buy online (which you’re probably better off doing) you can head to the Broadband section of Vodafone’s website. There you’ll also have access to the chatbot and can, if needs be, get connected to an agent via live chat 24 hours a day, every day of the week.
If you’re a Vodafone customer, there are a number of ways you can get in touch depending on your issue - explore them in full in our Vodafone contact page (link coming soon).
Want to make a Vodafone complaint? If you're unhappy with the service you've received from Vodafone and would like to make a complaint, you can read our Vodafone Complaints Guide to learn how to make a successful complaint against Vodafone.
The news that Ofcom’s latest report into broadband quality cited Vodafone as the country’s most complained about provider, with 7 complaints for every 100,000 customers and in broadband 14 complaints for every 100,000 subscribers, may come as no surprise who have taken out Vodafone’s services. A worrying 85% of over 9,000 Vodafone customers posting on the review site Trustpilot give it the worst score of Bad, leaving it with a woeful TrustScore of 1.3 out of 5.
So what is Vodafone getting so wrong? Well, based on the comments we’ve read from customers past and present, there’s not much it’s not capable of getting wrong. Reasons for complaints range from problems with installation and service to problems with billing and just downright poor customer service. One recent reviewer summarised what seems to be the general feeling:
Quite simply the worst internet providers for domestic home use I have ever encountered.
The main problem, however, seems to be issues with incorrect billing and a general sluggishness in getting people’s issues dealt with. Several reviewers report repeated issues with overcharging or continuing to be billed after they declared their intention to end their contract. This customer went through months of frustration before and after their service was terminated:
In the last year, I was incorrectly billed for data usage on about 6 consecutive months. I took several calls each month to rectify [...] At the same time I elected to embark on a Landline and Broadband package, however, I did not realise that I was bound into a current contract with my current supplier. I cancelled that application [...] and was assured that I would not be billed. Each month thereafter, I was billed for Broadband, which required a minimum of 3 hour long calls each month to rectify my bill each month.
Needless to say, Vodafone’s service and its treatment of customers when issues arise needs to see a great deal of improvement before we can even consider recommending it as a provider. We would suggest looking elsewhere for now!
Pros and cons
Now we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of signing up to Vodafone’s broadband and related products. There seem to be equally good reasons for signing up and for avoiding Vodafone altogether - in the end, we think, it comes down to whether the savings on offer are tempting enough to chance having to deal with a less than stellar service.
|Fibre broadband deals are very competitively priced, with good deals for TV add-ons.||Receives incredibly poor ratings from customers on Trustpilot.|
|Discounts for Vodafone Mobile customers.||Reported by Ofcom to be the most complained about provider in the UK.|
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