Vodafone overhauls Red post-paid mobile plans

Vodafone's new Red plans feature a series of device repayment options along with a choice of add-ons.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor
(Image: Vodafone)

Vodafone Australia has announced a refresh of its Red post-paid mobile plans, introducing SIM-only plans and a choice between different monthly instalments while consumers are paying off a handset, as well as allowing them to choose between several add-ons.

Under Vodafone's new plans, customers can buy smartphones outright under a 12-month SIM-only or month-to-month SIM-only plan, or sign up for a 12-, 24-, or 36-month contract with monthly instalments without being charged interest or being fined for paying off the device earlier.

The plans also break up data, text, and voice usage from handset repayments in order to allow the consumer to see how much they are specifically paying for their device.

Vodafone's new Red plans include nine options under the monthly instalment repayment choice: AU$30 per month for 3GB of data; AU$40 for 6GB of data and 650 minutes of international calling; AU$50 for 14GB of data plus 1,200 minutes of international calling and 4,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points; AU$50 for 16GB of data; AU$60 for 20GB of data plus 1,300 minutes of international calling and 5,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points; AU$60 for 22GB of data; AU$80 for 30GB of data, plus 1,400 minutes of international calling and 7,500 Qantas Frequent Flyer points; AU$80 for 32GB of data; and AU$100 per month for 50GB of data.

Once a consumer chooses a pricing point and whether to go with 12, 24, or 36 months, they then choose a device and payment arrangement, followed by a choice of data add-ons, additional international calling minutes, insurance, and accessories including headphones and speakers.

"This gives people the power to create a payment structure that suits them. It also helps them easily see what they're paying for each month, without locking them in for long periods of time," Ben McIntosh, Consumer Business Unit director of Vodafone Australia, said.

Saying two-year lock-in contracts are from "last century", Vodafone also criticised the "leasing" option provided by other telcos and said it is attempting to turn the mobile phone landscape into the property market.

"We're not going down the leasing path, which is the equivalent of paying off someone else's mortgage and never getting to own the house," said McIntosh.

"We simply think it's a waste of money and telcos shouldn't be trying to turn mobile phone plans into something like the Australian property market, where for many ownership is a long-lost dream."

In addition to the upfront cost of the handset, Vodafone's new SIM-only month-to-month plans give customers the options of paying AU$30 per month for 1GB of data; AU$40 per month for 3GB; AU$50 for 6GB plus 1,100 minutes of international calls; AU$60 for 9GB plus 1,150 minutes of international calls; AU$80 for 15GB plus 1,200 minutes of international calls; or AU$100 for 25GB of data.

The SIM-only 12-month plans after upfront device payment cost AU$30 per month for 2GB of data; AU$40 for 12GB plus 650 minutes of international calling; AU$50 for 14GB, plus 1,000 minutes of international calling and 4,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points; AU$50 for 16GB; AU$60 for 18GB plus 1,300 minutes of international calling and 5,000 Qantas points; AU$60 for 20GB; AU$80 for 30GB plus 1,000 minutes of international calling and 7,500 Qantas points; AU$80 for 32GB; or AU$100 for 50GB.

The new plans are available from Wednesday.

Vodafone had previously attributed its growing customer numbers to its Red plans.

"The growth in our customer base was driven by the post-paid segment, with consumers attracted to our customer-friendly propositions such as AU$5 Roaming and AU$0 Roaming to NZ, and Red plan products ... in 2016 we saw a 42 percent increase in VHA's roaming revenue," CFO James Marsh said in February.

Vodafone's last major update to its Red plans came two years ago, when it added more data for the purposes of streaming. It then dumped roaming fees for Australian customers travelling to New Zealand, and partnered with airline Qantas on Frequent Flyer points inclusions.

Vodafone's Red post-paid plans had already offered AU$5 a day roaming to 55 countries, allowing customers to use their regular monthly allowances worldwide.

Vodafone holds a total Australian mobile market share of 14.4 percent, as of June 30, according to the most recent statistics published by market research company Kantar.

By comparison, Telstra holds 39.5 percent mobile market share, followed by Optus, at 24.2 percent; Amaysim and Vaya, at 4.7 percent; Virgin Mobile, at 4.4 percent; Aldi Mobile, at 3 percent; and TPG and iiNet, at 2.3 percent.

According to Kantar, Vodafone's post-paid market share dropped by 1.3 percentage points and prepaid market share rose by 0.2 percentage points, for a total of 14.4 percent in both categories, during the quarter to June 30.

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