Home Telecoms & NBN Vodafone announces NBN pricing, principles and staged rollout schedule

Vodafone announces NBN pricing, principles and staged rollout schedule

Promising “action to deliver better broadband to Australians” with 4G back-up, proactive speed tests and the telco’s “30 day network satisfaction guarantee”, Vodafone has entered the NBN market at last.

The countdown to a future Kogan NBN service launching sometime in 2H18 has begun, with Vodafone officially announcing its NBN plans and pricing, and the news that it will start rolling out NBN services to those who have gone to Vodafone’s NBN page to express their interest

Noting that this is a different tack to a traditional market market launch, the company will start NBN trials with about 300 employees and customers “shortly”, which means that you really need to register at the link above, at least for now, in the hope of scoring an invitation-only offer to join Vodafone NBN.

The company proudly boasts of having “unveiled plans to deliver much needed simplicity and service innovation for customers connecting to the NBN in a bid to lift the fixed broadband experience in Australia".

As you see in the tables below, Vodafone will offer a range of 24-month and month-to-month plans for home and business users, at the expected “up to” 12Mbps, 25Mbps, 50Mbps and 100Mbps speeds.

Due to initially launch — by the aforementioned invitation-only — in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Geelong, Newcastle and Wollongong “over the coming weeks,” and then “progressively rolling out to other areas”, Vodafone is finally going fixed while offering bonus mobile data if you have a post-paid mobile phone plan with the company, no matter which plan you choose.

Vodafone’s general manager of Broadband, Matthew Lobb, said: “While the NBN is a massive upgrade to Australia’s broadband infrastructure, the telecommunications industry is not seizing the opportunity to deliver better solutions for consumers and business.

“We see enormous potential in the NBN to finally provide Australia with world-class broadband. However, what we’re seeing is the old guard telcos bamboozling Australians with techno-speak, confusing plans and poor customer experience.

“It’s clear to us that Australians are seeking an alternative to what’s currently available in the market and, more importantly, a provider that is willing to be accountable.

“Today we are proud to announce a unique set of service innovations that aims to lift the game rather than deliver more of the same.“

So, what are the customer service initiatives that Vodafone is boasting about?

  • All customers will be offered Vodafone’s 30 Day Network Satisfaction Guarantee where they can “love or leave” Vodafone NBN within the first 30 days of their contract after service activation if they are not satisfied. Vodafone will refund any monthly access fees (excluding NBN specific charges) paid by the customer as long as the Vodafone Wi-Fi Hub is returned to a Vodafone store within 10 days of letting us know.
  • Freedom to change speed plans once per bill cycle without fees. Vodafone will also run a speed test on the customer’s line within the first 15 days of activation.
  • Vodafone will provide an Instant Connect service to all customers in 4G coverage areas, which will use the strength of Vodafone’s mobile network to ensure the customer is connected as soon as they set up their Vodafone Wi-Fi Hub. The service is available for up to 30 days with maximum speeds of 12Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps for uploads.
  • 4G Back-up, which can be activated in the event of an NBN fault on a customer’s line, will provide assurance to the customer if something happened to their NBN connection. The service is available for up to 30 days with maximum speeds of 12Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps for uploads.
  • MyVodafone app will feature a tool to provide customers with information about their installation, including appointment details and activation progress, as well as Vodafone Wi-Fi Hub delivery.

And, what are the competitive inclusions?

  • Vodafone says its “Unlimited Home and Business Data in simple, easy to understand speed based plans that allows customers to enjoy the benefits of the network without worry of extra usage charges. Fair Use Policy applies".
  • Bonus Mobile Data for Vodafone post-paid mobile plans will be offered to customers connecting to Vodafone NBN.
  • “Customers want simple and straightforward plans that are relevant to their use of technology. As a first for a major telecommunication company, we’ll be providing bonus mobile data rather than insisting customers receive an outdated, plain old fixed telephony service,” Lobb added.

Then Vodafone highlights the issue of “legacy providers holding Australians back from faster speeds”.

Here, Lobb said: “The NBN is giving more speed to people as their needs change. We want to make sure that when our customers move onto the NBN, they will get a better experience than they do today.

“Over the past year Vodafone has listened to what many Australians who have connected to the old DSL services or the NBN have had to say about their experience. People are feeling frustrated with the connection process, underwhelmed by the products and information they were provided when they signed up, and are confused about the speed options on offer.”

He added that NBN offers “new speed choices for customers and Vodafone will give customers relevant advice about the different speed tier plans to help them choose the right product for their needs.

“We are prepared to ask our customers the right questions – what are your needs when it comes to broadband? How many people are in your household? What type of services do they use?

“There is a general rule – the more connected devices and Internet services you use in your household or office, the more you should consider faster speeds.”

Lobb continued, stating: “Vodafone will also conduct speed tests with customers and give them the freedom to change plans at no extra charge once per bill cycle.

“We're really keen to be transparent and work with customers during the connection journey. There are a number of factors that affect speed and some of them we will only know after connection. This is why we're going to do a speed check after the service activation to make sure our customers are on the right speed tier plan for their needs.”

So, with Vodafone launching its NBN services with a staggered rollout, Lobb said this would “ensure it delivers a great customer experience from the start".

“What we've observed is that you can rush to launch to make a land grab that’s not customer focused, but that's not what we're about. We’re in this for the long haul and we want to make sure that we do it right.

“Rest assured, we'll be delivering competition, choice and great experiences in other capital cities and other places in the New Year,” Lobb concluded.

The pricing plans for Vodafone home and business plans are below – turn phone horizontal if reading on mobile.

Here are Vodafone’s “terms and conditions” – it's a lot of text but it's all here if you want to read it.

Vodafone 30 Day Network Satisfaction Guarantee

If you’re a new customer and you’ve signed up to any new postpaid plan (also applies to postpaid business customers with up to 9 connections) and you don't love our network within the first 30 days of sign-up, or in the case of a Vodafone NBN plan within the first 30 days of service activation, you’re welcome to cancel by calling 1300551198 (excludes upgrades and rate plan changes).

You will only have to pay for those services you’ve used or for charges incurred, that are not included in your plan, up until your number or NBN service is fully transferred and device and equipment in original packaging with proof of purchase returned to a Vodafone (not dealer) store within 10 days of your claim. Where you have an individual plan, you can make one claim per year per person. Where you have multiple shared plans on your account, you can make one claim in relation to each plan, for up to 10 claims per account, per year per person. Accessories not refunded. This guarantee does not affect any other rights or remedies you may have under consumer law. Full terms and conditions at vodafone.com.au/guarantee.

For personal use only by approved customers.

Business customers must have an ABN/ACN. Vodafone NBN is only available in selected areas and premises. Subject to service qualification check.

Vodafone NBN is a data-only service and is not compatible with your home phone line service meaning you may no longer be able to use your landline (or existing phone number) for calls after you sign-up, depending on your technology type. Other services that rely on your landline will not continue to operate, such as some security services, medical alarms or devices, lift emergency phones and some email or fax services.

Month-to-month plans

Minimum monthly spend for month 1 is $220, $230, $245, $260 (for the $70, $80, $95, $110 plans respectively). Minimum monthly spend for month 2 onward is $70, $80, $95, $110 (for the $70, $80, $95, $110 plans respectively). Total minimum cost excludes any additional costs for call outs when there is a missed appointment or where no fault is found or the $300 New Development Charge that is triggered when you live in a new development. You must connect for a minimum of one month. Recurring monthly plan fees are charged until the end of the month in which you notify that you wish to cancel. You will be charged for using your plan from the point of NBN activation at your premises.

24 month plans

The maximum early exit fee payable for this plan is $350 (including device costs). The exact early exit fee payable is determined by when and why you leave. Please see your Plan Details available at point of sale for more information. Total minimum cost excludes $300 New Development Fee that is triggered when you live in a new development and any additional costs for call outs that may be applied when there is a missed appointment or where no fault is found. You will be charged for using your plan from the point of NBN activation at your premises.

Vodafone Wi-Fi Hub

Vodafone Wi-Fi Hub supports up to 32 compatible Wi-Fi enabled devices simultaneously. The Wi-Fi Hub will support NBN technology types provided by Vodafone NBN. All customers signing up to a Vodafone NBN plan will be required to purchase a Wi-Fi Hub. You will not be able to use a non-Vodafone SIM card with this device as it is only able to operate with a Vodafone SIM on our network.

Vodafone Instant Connect

Vodafone Instant Connect is a complimentary service that provides an interim internet connection using either the Vodafone 3G or 4G network in Vodafone Coverage Areas only. It is only available using the Vodafone Wi-Fi Hub. Instant Connect is available from when you receive your Wi-Fi Hub until your NBN service is fully activated or for a period of 30 consecutive days (whichever occurs first). Speeds are throttled at a theoretical maximum of 12Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps for uploads. Service performance varies depending on network coverage and your location with speeds likely less than the maximum. Our Fair Use Policy at time of purchase applies. You can use Vodafone 4G in our 4G areas. 4G in selected areas in Australia. You get broadband speeds in our 3G areas.

4G Backup

Vodafone 4G Backup is a complimentary service that provides an interim internet connection using either the Vodafone 3G or 4G network in Vodafone Coverage Areas only. It is only available using the Vodafone Wi-Fi Hub. If you are experiencing issues with your NBN service you must call Vodafone on 1300 650 410 or 1555 from your Vodafone Mobile. We will determine if you are experiencing a localised fault that requires resolution by an NBN technician and activate Backup. You will be able to use the Backup service until the fault is resolved or for a period of 30 consecutive days (whichever occurs first).

Speeds are throttled at a theoretical maximum of 12Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps for uploads. Service performance varies depending on network coverage and your location with speeds likely less than the maximum. Our Fair Use Policy at time of purchase applies. You can use Vodafone 4G in our 4G areas. 4G in selected areas in Australia. You get broadband speeds in our 3G areas.

Bonus Mobile Data

Bonus Mobile Data (‘Mobile Data’) varies by Vodafone NBN plan and is allocated monthly after the Vodafone NBN service is activated. Mobile Data is only accessible if you have one or more postpaid mobile plans on the same billing account as your Vodafone NBN service with sharing activated. Mobile Data will expire at the end of your bill cycle and is applied as long as your Vodafone NBN plan and your postpaid mobile plan remains connected.

Mobile Data is forfeited if you cancel either your postpaid mobile plan or your Vodafone NBN plan. Services subject to capabilities, network limitations & customer location. If you have more than one Vodafone plan that supports sharing on your billing account, the data allowances on those services will automatically combine into one pool which will be shared between eligible users (data sharing is only available on up to 10 services, a maximum of 5 of which can be voice plans).

Unlimited data

Unlimited data for use in Australia and is subject to our Fair Use Policy at time of purchase. Inclusions expire after 1 month. Services subject to number of devices connected, network coverage your location.

Internet speeds Internet speeds on this plan are variable and you will typically experience much slower speeds than the maximum connection speed available on your plan. The performance and speed of your Vodafone NBN service depends on a number of factors such as: the number of devices connected to your network, Wi-Fi performance, in-building wiring, the NBN technology used to deliver your service, our network and internet traffic demand. For more information please refer to the NBN Choose the right speed guide http://www.nbnco.com.au/learn-about-the-nbn/speed.html

Plan changes

You are permitted to change once per bill cycle. If you change plans, your new plan will begin immediately. You will be refunded for the plan fee for the remainder of the month on a pro-rata basis and you be will charged your new plan fee calculated on a pro-rata basis for the remainder of the month.

My Vodafone App Application features subject to change. The App is free to purchase, however, standard data charges will apply to download it, to access any external links via the App and if used outside Australia. A compatible handset is required and the App is subject to network limitations. Information accessed using the App may not be available at all times or free of errors, omissions or defects.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.