A strong all-round business network that offers great coverage
- Award-winning coverage
- Wide range of handsets
- Good reliability, speed and customer service
- Relatively expensive tariffs
- Confusing tariff options
- Some tariffs have speed restrictions
Vodafone is now the most long-standing brand in the British mobile industry, and it’s always had a strong reputation among business customers. That’s been reflected in our survey, where Vodafone has helped itself to no fewer than four Highly Commended awards, as well as one winner’s prize for its network coverage.
Coverage is one of the most important factors for business customers, since you don’t want important calls diverting to voicemail. With more than 90% of Vodafone customers saying they’re happy with the network’s coverage, you can be sure you won’t be dangling out of the window hoping to catch a bar or two of signal very often.
In each of the categories for which it won a highly commended award – speed, reliability, customer service and choice of phones – Vodafone was close to toppling the winner, EE, sometimes by very narrow margins indeed.
However, the one category where Vodafone was found wanting was value for money. Vodafone has always been a premium network, but at a time when businesses are looking for savings on every expense line on the balance sheet, that’s clearly a sore spot for some of its customers.
Let’s explore exactly how much you’ll have to pay to get this high-quality service.
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Vodafone Business review: What do you get?
Vodafone Business offers a huge and somewhat bewildering range of tariffs, whether you’re looking to buy a phone on contract or go SIM-only.
If you’re looking for a handset deal, you should note that Vodafone prices up the handset separately from the airtime contract, so it’s important that you make sure both your handset and airtime are set to the same contract length to keep everything in sync. For ease of understanding, we’ve combined the cost of the handset and airtime in the table below.
By default, Vodafone will try and lock you down for a full three years, but contract lengths can be adjusted.
Other things to note: some airtime deals limit download speeds to only 10Mbits/sec, which isn’t exactly going to give you the full benefit of 5G connectivity. Some deals include roaming, while others don’t. Take real care when you’re picking a tariff and make sure you fully explore the details of each deal.
We already mentioned that Vodafone customers are less enamoured with the network’s value for money, and when you compare prices with our overall award winner, EE, you can certainly see why: both price their cheapest SIM-only deal at £15, but EE offers 4GB more data per month with its deal. And when it comes to deals on the iPhone 14, EE offers four times as much data for roughly the same price as Vodafone.
However, Vodafone did score well in our survey for its range of handsets. Not only does it have the big hitters from manufacturers such as Samsung and Apple, but a wide choice of other brands, including Nokia, Xiaomi and the environmentally friendly handset maker Fairphone.
|Cheapest SIM-only||Recommended SIM-only||Most expensive SIM-only||Recommended iPhone 14 deal||Recommended Galaxy S23 deal|
|Tariff||Red 6GB||Red 80GB||Unlimited + 3 Xtra benefits + Entertainment||25GB + 2 Xtra benefits||25GB + 2 Xtra benefits|
|Monthly fee (ex VAT)||£15||£17||£41||£48 + £16 one-off||£50 + £24 one-off|
|Term||24 months||24 months||12 months||24 months||24 months|
Vodafone Business review: Customer service
Vodafone collects a Highly Commended award for its customer service in the Expert Reviews Business Mobile Awards, with an impressive 88% of Vodafone customers satisfied or very satisfied – a score beaten only by EE.
Almost three-quarters of Vodafone customers said they would recommend the network, again the second-highest score among the four major networks we surveyed.
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Vodafone Business review: Coverage, reliability and speed
As previously mentioned, coverage is Vodafone’s ace card, with the network claiming the award for the best coverage.
That’s partnered with a very strong reliability score, with just shy of 90% of customers declaring themselves satisfied with Vodafone’s reliability.
Despite the speed restrictions imposed on some tariffs, as mentioned above, Vodafone also scores well for performance. 89% of customers said they were happy, with 44% saying they strongly agreed that the speed was fast enough for their business needs.
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Vodafone Business review: Roaming
Vodafone boasts that all of its business tariffs come with inclusive roaming options, but when you drill down into the details, that only includes a smattering of countries. Iceland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Norway are the only locations that are covered on every tariff.
The rest depends on which tariff you choose. You’ll notice when comparing Vodafone tariffs online that some will include roaming to 51 destinations, while the more expensive deals cover 83 locations. So be sure to check carefully at the point of sign-up if you regularly travel for business, but be aware that additional countries can often be bolted on if your chosen plan doesn’t offer free roaming at your destination.
Vodafone Business review: Extras
As you may notice from the table above, some of Vodafone’s more expensive deals come with “Xtra benefits”. These are listed in the details of each tariff and can include things such as international roaming, unlimited picture messaging and device care plans. Make sure you check the specific benefits afforded to each plan at the point of purchase – especially since, unlike with some other networks, there appears to be little or no choice over which benefits you receive.
Vodafone Business review: Verdict
Vodafone is clearly delivering a high-quality service to business customers, not least in the breadth of coverage that the network offers. However, it’s by no means the cheapest network, reaffirming the old adage that you get what you pay for.