Vodafone unlimited data plans compared: Unlimited Max, Unlimited and Lite

25 June 2020

Contents list

  1. Introduction
  2. Lite vs Unlimited vs Unlimited Max
    1. Unlimited Lite data plan
    2. Unlimited data plan
    3. Unlimited Max data plan
  3. Which unlimited plan is right for me
  4. Frequently Asked Questions

1. Introduction

On most networks unlimited data is simply that – unlimited data, but Vodafone has chosen to give customers three different kinds of unlimited data plans, offering different speeds.

So yes, they’re all unlimited, but depending on the plan you choose you could end up with slow 2Mbps speeds, middling 10Mbps speeds, or unrestricted speeds, which can get far, far higher.

Below we’ll explain how fast each plan is, what those speeds are capable of, what else you get with each unlimited data plan type, and attempt to help you decide which unlimited data plan is right for you.

2. Unlimited plans compared: Lite vs Unlimited vs Unlimited Max

There are three different unlimited data plan types on Vodafone – there’s:

  • Unlimited Lite, which tops out at 2Mbps speeds
  • Unlimited, which tops out at 10Mbps speeds
  • Unlimited Max, which is uncapped and offers 5G speeds.

The chart below provides a basic overview of how they compare, but for more details, head to the next sections.

Type of plan

Download Speed

Free roaming locations

Entertainment included?

Unlimited Lite

2Mbps

51

No

Unlimited

10Mbps

51

Optional

Unlimited Max

Uncapped 5G speed

81

Optional

View unlimited data plans

2.1 Unlimited Lite data plan

Activity

2 Mbps speed performance

Load a web page

Approx. 8 seconds

Download a song

Less than 15 seconds

Download a 30MB app

Approx. 2 minutes

Streaming audio

High quality

Streaming video

Standard definition - Yes

Video call

Standard definition - Yes

Group video call / conference

Not recommended by Vodafone

Online gaming

Not recommended by Vodafone

Tethering (Personal Hotspot)

Not recommended by Vodafone

Unlimited Lite plans come with unlimited data but do significantly limit you when it comes to speed, topping out at just 2Mbps.

While that’s certainly slow, it should also be enough for a lot of users. If you’re mostly just web browsing and messaging, you’re unlikely to notice the lack of speed, as it can handle both fine (though web pages may load a bit slower than you’re used to).

2Mbps is also plenty for streaming high quality music, and you can download a typical song in under 15 seconds, so by extension any small file will be quick to download. This is also plenty fast enough for email.

Where it will feel limited is for streaming video (which it will struggle to do in more than standard definition, and even then is likely to load slowly and buffer a lot), for downloading and uploading large files (such as albums, games, and big apps), for playing online games (which are unlikely to function properly), and for tethering.

Group video calls are also unlikely to work well, and while you should be able to video call an individual, the quality may leave something to be desired.

2.2 Unlimited data plan

Activity

10 Mbps speed performance

Load a web page

Approx. 2 seconds

Download a song

Approx. 3 seconds

Download a 30MB app

Approx. 24 seconds

Streaming audio

High quality

Streaming video

HD - Yes

Video call

HD - Yes

Group video call / conference

HD - Yes

Online gaming

Yes

Tethering (Personal Hotspot)

Yes, for a few devices

Vodafone Unlimited plans give you data speeds of up to 10Mbps, which is a big boost on Unlimited Lite, but still not enough for all tasks.

With this you will be able to browse the web, use social media such as Facebook, message, email, and do other basic tasks more speedily and smoothly than on a 2Mbps connection. You’ll also be able to download a song in around 3 seconds – so five times as fast. That in turn means all downloads will be five times as fast, making big apps and games a lot more viable to grab or update on a mobile data connection.

Streamed video will be far more practical too – here an HD stream can easily be managed, and the buffering and loading times should be reduced.

Most online games should comfortably be playable too – though performance may not always be perfect, and you’ll be able to make HD video calls to both individuals and groups. Tethering even becomes more practical here – though if you connect many devices then your connection could still slow to a crawl.

2.3 Unlimited Max data plan

Activity

Fastest available 5G speed fiqures

Load a web page

Near instant

Download a song

Near instant

Download a 30MB app

Near instant

Streaming audio

High quality

Streaming video

4K - Yes

Video call

HD - Yes

Group video call / conference

HD - Yes

Online gaming

Yes

Tethering (Personal Hotspot)

Yes, for many devices

With a Vodafone Unlimited Max plan your speeds are truly unrestricted and uncapped. That means this is the only Vodafone unlimited plan that truly offers 5G speeds, so it’s what you should opt for if you have a 5G phone. But even if you don’t, you can get higher speeds here than on other Vodafone unlimited plans.

Being uncapped, the speeds are a lot more variable, but at the top end things like loading a web page, downloading a song, or downloading another small file or app, are near instantaneous – we’re talking less than a second.

You can also stream video in 4K quality (which is more than most phones have the screen to even fully take advantage of), tether a large number of devices at high speed, play online games with no lag, and do basically anything else that requires data as quickly and smoothly as you could reasonably expect.

3. Which plan is right for me?

So, you now know the key differences between Vodafone’s three unlimited plans, but there are some other considerations in deciding which is the best plan for you.

For one thing, if you plan to do much roaming abroad, it’s worth being aware that while all Vodafone unlimited plans let you roam in 51 locations at no extra cost, with an Unlimited Max plan that’s boosted to 81 through a service called Global Roaming Plus.

It’s also worth noting that you can optionally get a subscription to Amazon Prime Video, Spotify Premium, Now TV Entertainment, or Sky Sports Mobile TV included with an Unlimited or Unlimited Max plan, but not with an Unlimited Lite plan. If this is of interest, just look for the plans that say they come “with entertainment” – though note that this isn’t a free addition, but is typically cheaper than subscribing separately.

So which plan is right for you? If you simply want the cheapest option possible, then of course it’s Unlimited Lite that you should go for, but unless you’re really not going to be doing much more than web browsing with your phone, you might find it frustratingly slow.

For most people we’d recommend at least Unlimited, which will be fast enough for the majority of tasks. But Unlimited Max is arguably worth the extra for its increased speed (which is especially useful for things like tethering and gaming), and its additional roaming locations.

Unlimited Max should also be the only one you consider if you have a 5G phone. Technically you can tap into Vodafone’s 5G service with an Unlimited or Unlimited Lite plan, but while you’ll be able to benefit from the lower latency and greater capacity, you won’t get the speeds, which is 5G’s main selling point.

View unlimited data plans

4. Frequently asked questions

Does Vodafone unlimited data?

Vodafone unlimited data is simply any plan on Vodafone which comes with an unlimited data allowance. However, the speeds can vary between plans as follows:

Unlimited Lite=2Mbps

Unlimited=10Mbps

Unlimited Max=Uncapped 5G speeds.

More details here

Does Vodafone offer unlimited data?

Yes, Vodafone does offer unlimited data. It has a range of different unlimited data plans with different speed limits.

The speeds can vary between plans as follows:

  • Unlimited Lite=2Mbps
  • Unlimited=10Mbps
  • Unlimited Max=Uncapped 5G speeds.

See the full details here or above.

What’s the difference between Unlimited Lite, Unlimited and Unlimited Max?

Unlimited Lite plans are the cheapest of Vodafone’s unlimited data plans and offer speeds of up to 2Mbps, while Unlimited plans cost more and have speeds of up to 10Mbps, and Unlimited Max plans are the most expensive and have uncapped speeds, as well as coming with more free roaming locations. Unlimited and Unlimited Max plans can also both optionally come with an entertainment subscription included.

Does Vodafone offer unlimited data SIM plans?

Yes, it does. You can get unlimited data with Vodafone on both SIM Only and plans that come with both a smartphone and a SIM card.

Does Vodafone offer unlimited data on pay as you go?

Yes, but there’s only one unlimited data bundle here. It’s advertised as a 5G plan, so speeds are presumably unrestricted, but unlike its other unlimited plans Vodafone hasn’t specified.

Does Vodafone offer 5G speeds with unlimited data?

Yes, it does, but only on Unlimited Max plans. If you have an Unlimited Lite or Unlimited plan then you’ll be able to take advantage of the greater capacity and lower latency of 5G, but not the speeds.

And in all cases you will of course also need a 5G phone to get 5G speeds.

Is it possible to do a Vodafone speed test?

Vodafone itself doesn’t offer a speed test, but you can check the speeds you’re getting by using a third-party service.

Find out more about 5G speeds here.

Can I use tethering or personal hotspot with unlimited data on Vodafone?

Yes, you can and there are no limits to the amount of data you can use even while tethering.

Can I use tethering or personal hotspot with unlimited data on Vodafone?

Yes, you can and there are no limits to the amount of data you can use even while tethering.

Is there a fair usage policy for unlimited data for Vodafone?

Vodafone claims that its unlimited data plans really are unlimited, with the only restriction (other than the speeds in some cases, as explained above or here) being that you can only use up to 25GB per month when roaming in inclusive locations.

James Rogerson
About James Rogerson

Sub-Editor at 5G.co.uk

James is sub-editor at both 5G.co.uk and TechRadar. Also works as a researcher/ technical writer for 5G.co.uk and several other websites including TechRadar, T3, Smart TV Radar, 3G.co.uk with work on the web, in print and on TV.

View more posts by James Rogerson >
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