Vodafone has replaced its ‘International’ recharge product with new prepaid ‘Pay As You Go’ (PAYG) plans with calls to the Middle East reduced by up to 75% and some locations from 1c per minute - and a 23c flagfall for international calls.
These plans also have 30 day expiry, rather than the 28 day expiry of Vodafone’s Prepaid Cap plans.
Promising ‘simplicity and greater freedom’ for its prepaid customers who make lots of international calls, the telco says the key difference between the old and new products is that Vodafone used to have allocated allowances for ‘flexible credit’ and ‘data’ and did not allow the rollover of credit – and now it does all rollover.
There are four recharge options in Vodafone’s new PAYG range - $10, $20, $30 an $50.
Vodafone promises these plans offer ‘fantastic all-round value’ for local and international calls, TXT and data.
The company’s GM of Prepaid, Mehul Dave says “Vodafone’s new PAYG recharge is a great all-round recharge that will keep up with everything you do. With one big bucket of credit, customers have greater freedom to use their credit on the activities they want.”
Besides the new ability to rollover of any unused credit if you recharge within 30 days on the PYAG plan, Vodafone also says it ‘rewards customers with a 10% bonus credit if they recharge via TXT or online with a credit card or PayPal.’
Vodafone also notes it is continuing to ‘bring customers leading rates for calling internationally’, pointing to rates for calling Middle Easy countries dropping by ‘up to’ 75%.
Dave added: “We recognise there is a strong Arabic community in Australia and we’ve focused on making it more affordable for customers to stay in touch with their loved ones back home”.
Per minute calling rates to a selection of Middle East countries illustrates the price drop, with the rate to Qatar per minute previously 80c and now down to 25c. Kuwait has fallen from 20c per minute to 15.
Calls to Oman have fallen from 80c per minute to 30c, Yemen from 80c to 25c and Bahrain from 20c per minute to 15c.
The complete list of international calling rates for the Pay As You Go plans can be seen here.
Vodafone’s $10 Pay As You Go plan has $10 of credit, with the standard call rate at 10c per minute (to Australian numbers) with a 10c flagfall. SMS messages to national and international numbers at 15c peach, and data in Australia at 2c MB.
The $20 plan is the same but gives you $20 credit and adds ‘infinite’ Vodafone to Vodafone calls.
The $30 plan is the same as the $20 plan but give you $30 credit, while the $50 plan gives you $50 credit but is otherwise the same as the $30 or $20 plans which have ‘infinite’ Vodafone to Vodafone calling.
I'm not sure you can call plans from $10 to $50 as being 'big buckets of credit' - unless you're talking about calls to landlines in countries at 1c per minute like China, Hong Kong, Germany or Thailand.
There are plenty of countries at well under 10c per minute, but there are countries at 80c per minute or above, too - it just depends where you want to call, and the call rates list linked above letes you check that for yourself.
It is good to see Vodafone keeping this plan at a 30 day recharge rate, even if its regular Prepaid cap plan is 28 days, of which there are thirteen 28 day periods in a year.
It's also good to see Vodafone introducing the rollover of ununsed credit for calling and data, presuambly if the recharge is made in time before it runs out as is usually the case in rollover situations.
While there's still always Skype, Viber, Facetime and other VoIP solutions that can give you effectively free calls to anyone, anywhere with data and on the same VoIP network, it's still good to be able to make calls, and if prices are coming down for some locations, it's good news for everyone that's relevant to.
So, if you're a prepaid customer who makes a lot of international calls, Vodafone hopes you'll consider its new Pay As You Go plan, but as always, we recommend you Do Your Own Research to make sure whichever plan you choose from whichever telco is delivering you the best value.