Vodafone are, in 2017, one of the biggest mobile networks not just in the UK, but in the world. With a turnover north of £40 billion in 2016, they’re a global telecommunications giant with a reach which extends into more sectors than you might imagine.
As a customer in the UK though, what should you know about Vodafone? In this guide, we’re going to break down the essentials about the company, from their founding right up to their current offerings for potential customers like you. Let’s get started, shall we?
A short history of Vodafone
Vodafone began life as a subsidiary of Racal Electronics plc, known as Racal Strategic Radio Ltd, this was a joint venture between the UK’s largest manufacturer of military radio technology and a pioneering American mobile network provider called Millicom, and would form the basis of what we know today as Vodafone.
Quickly changing their name to Racal Telecom, they bid for the UK’s second ever cellular radio license. At this time, the ownership split was decided with Racal owning 80% of the company, Millicom taking 15% plus royalties and a separate venture trust owning 5%. The license was secured, and the two companies set to work to create the UK’s first national mobile network. Buy the start of 1985, they were ready.
Another name change was on its way, as the company became Racal-Vodafone. Though growth was initially modest, a steady influx of customers and the evident viability of a consumer mobile network meant that the decision to demerge from the largely military company Racal was taken. By 1991, the company became the Vodafone Group.
That change and a strong advertising push meant that growth was meteoric at Vodafone in the early 90s, as the company soon became the UK’s biggest mobile network. Though it would later hand that crown off to Orange, T-Mobile and (most recently) EE, Vodafone’s achievement shouldn’t be underestimated.
Today, Vodafone make their fortune in a number of ways. Not content merely offering mobile contracts, Vodafone invest heavily in mobile infrastructure around the world, offer home broadband for customers in the UK and remain an important part of the growth of 4G and (soon) 5G mobile broadband tech.
With over 450 million subscribers spread across over 60 countries, this British company have grown to become one of the very biggest in the world, with a brand identity which rivals some of the very biggest out there.
What services do Vodafone offer?
- Pay Monthly – Vodafone made their name as a pay monthly contract provider, and that remains their bread and butter offering. By going online or using the Vodafone contact number, you can select between a huge range of smartphones like the iPhone 7, Galaxy S7 and Sony XZ and an even wider range of bundles.
You can choose a bundle with a focus on 4G data, minutes or texts to suit you. Best of all, all of Vodafone’s ‘Red Value’ bundles come with a 6, 12 or 24 month subscription to a popular service like Now TV, Spotify, Sky Sports Mobile, included at no extra charge. That’s a huge reason to go with Vodafone as mobile provider.
Also included with all Red and Red Value bundles is roaming for 40 European countries with a monthly data allowance of 4GB and unlimited texts, minutes and pictures messages included. If you’re traveling further afield, a £5 per day charge is included.
At various points, you may also find Vodafone offer steep discounts on their contracts, so keep an eye out for that.
- Home Broadband – Vodafone have, in the last 5 years, made a serious play for the home broadband market, and today have quite a convincing offering. Their offering is split into three options – Unlimited Standard Broadband 17 (£23 a month for new & existing customers, limited to 17Mbps speeds), Unlimited Fibre 38 (£23/£26 a month for existing/new customers, limited to 38Mbps) and Unlimited Fibre 76 (£28/£31 a month for existing/new customers, limited to 76Mbps).
Each contract is for 18 months and both Fibre offers require a one-time connection fee of £24. All contracts are free from usage caps, so you’re free to stream and download as much as you like.
Does Vodafone have good satisfaction levels?
Despite Vodafone’s long held position at the heart of the UK’s mobile telecommunications industry, their customer service record is extremely poor. In the latest Which? consumer satisfaction survey, Vodafone was found to be the single most complained about pay-monthly mobile provider. That’s bad news for potential customers, as only 49% of existing customers were satisfied with their experience.