Vodafone vs Talkmobile 2021: Great VeryMe Rewards or Cheap, High Value SIM Plans

Vodafone owns and powers Talkmobile, but which network has the better deals and are there any differences between them? Here we take an in depth look and find out.

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Vodafone April 2021 Offer

Latest Offer: Unlimited 5G for just £25/month

Vodafone’s best unlimited data offer ever is here! You can now grab their Unlimited 5G from Vodafone for just £25/month, on a 12-month plan.

The deal comes with great features such as 4G Calling and WiFi Calling as well as the best roaming deal in the UK. This special offer ends 27 April!

Who is Vodafone?

vodafone-article-logoVodafone is one of the four main UK mobile providers with an underlying network infrastructure. They are also the largest mobile and fixed network operator in Europe. Vodafone launched back in 1984, becoming the first mobile network operator in the UK. The company is one of the world’s largest telecommunication providers, offering services in 25 countries.

You can find all kinds of SIM offers on Vodafone. There are options to suit every individual; from pay monthly SIM only plans, to pay monthly phone contracts, pay as you go phones, commitment-free pay as you go bundles and even a traditional PAYG service. The carrier also offers portable and powerful mobile broadband deals.

Vodafone’s pay monthly SIM contracts are available from 30-day plans to 12-month and 24-month contracts. These deals come with unlimited UK minutes and texts, as well as free roaming in selected destinations. Some premium plans allow you to roam freely in 81 destinations across the world, however, base inclusive roaming is limited to 51 destinations.

Except Vodafone Basics plans and RED 1GB plans, all pay monthly contracts have 5G at no extra cost. Vodafone’s pay as you go packs are quite expensive, especially the ones that come with 5G, and the old school pay as you go offer is more expensive than most other operators. On the bright side, Vodafone’s PAYG bundles come with a decent data rollover scheme, so you get a second chance to use your leftover data.

Pro’s

  • Second best 4G coverage and download speeds in the UK.
  • Each week you get some great value freebies and discounts with VeryMe Rewards.
  • A wide variety of pay monthly plans and pay as you go deals to choose from.
  • PAYG deals come with a data rollover scheme.
  • Entertainment subscriptions that can be found on premium plans.
  • Vodafone is the only network offering 5G coverage abroad.
  • You get 81 inclusive roaming destinations with Unlimited Max Plan.

Con’s

  • Significantly more expensive plans than most other networks.
  • They have the worst 5G network at the moment.
  • PAYG rates are quite high.
  • 4G Calling & Wi-Fi Calling are only available on pay monthly contracts.

Who is Talkmobile?

talkmobile-article-logoPowered by Vodafone, Talkmobile offers identical 4G coverage and data speeds as its parent network, however, the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) doesn’t have 5G yet. While 4G, 3G, and 2G coverage are exactly the same between Talkmobile and Vodafone, their customers don’t get to benefit from Wi-Fi Calling or 4G Calling (VoLTE), therefore Vodafone customers can potentially get better coverage, if their phones and plans support these two features.

Talkmobile are offering cheap and high value SIM only plans that come with unlimited UK minutes & texts, but there aren’t any extras or special benefits that add more value to their plans.

Whilst Talkmobile is an MVNO, they only offer 1-month and 12-month contracts, meaning you’ll have to undergo a credit check in order to get a plan from them.

Pro’s

  • Talkmobile offers some of the cheapest 30-day rolling contracts.
  • Second best 4G coverage and download speeds thanks to Vodafone.
  • Simple, straightforward SIM only plans.

Con’s

  • No PAYG offers.
  • You have to pass a credit check.
  • No extra features or reward programmes.
  • No 5G yet.

Table of Contents

 

Plans & Pricing

SIM Only Deals

Vodafone pretty much covers all grounds. It doesn’t matter if you’re a light data user or a heavy data user; if you want to sign up for a short term contract or a long term one. Just work out how much data you’ll need each month and Vodafone will have a deal for you.

You can also have a look at Vodafone Basics plans, if you’re not interested in paying for any of the more fancy features on Vodafone’s premium plans.

Vodafone also offers unlimited data plans, but they are split into three categories. The Unlimited Lite plan is subject to a maximum download speed of 2Mbps, meanwhile the regular unlimited data plan has a speed cap of 10Mbps. The Unlimited Max plan, however, has no speed caps or any other restrictions. Plus it allows you to use your UK allowances in 81 destinations across the world. This is the only UK tariff that offers free roaming in Turkey in 2021, no other network provides free roaming in Turkey at the moment.

Vodafone RED plans come with 5G at no extra cost, plus you get to roam freely in 51 destinations. Just like the unlimited data plans, RED plans also offer unlimited UK minutes & texts and you can sign up for a 30-day, 12-month or 24-month contract. Keep in mind that, regardless of your choice you have to pass Vodafone’s credit check.

All of Talkmobile SIM only plans come with unlimited calls and texts and free roaming in EU countries, but that’s about it. They’re pretty much on par with Vodafone Basics plans except inclusive roaming, which you don’t get with ‘Basics’ tariffs. You also get to choose between a 30-day contract and a 12-month contract on Talkmobile, whilst Vodafone Basics plans are on 12-month deals. You also get a little more variety compared to Basics tariffs, but that’s it.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-vodafoneTalkmobile’s plans are considerably cheaper, but they can’t compete with Vodafone’s variety and all the extra benefits you get. Plus, Vodafone’s Basics plans are almost identical to Talkmobile’s 12-month tariffs, and they’re similarly priced. It’s a strong win for Vodafone.

Pay As You Go

Vodafone offers multiple pay as you go services. You can opt for Vodafone Pay As You Go 1, or grab a 30-day bundle of data, minutes and texts.

We love Vodafone Pay As You Go 1 at Half Cooked, because there are no monthly charges on this service. Vodafone only charges you on the days you use your plan: You’ll be charged if you make a call, send a text or use your mobile data. Receiving calls or texts won’t trigger the £1 charge, nor will using your Wi-Fi connection. Unfortunately, you only get 50MB per day to spend, it used to be 500MB, but Vodafone reduced it in January 2021. We believe it’s still a great option to have for light mobile data users, and definitely compares well against 1p Mobile’s pay as you go rates. You can also have a look at our 1p Mobile article and learn more about their SIM deals.

Vodafone’s PAYG Bundles offer a decent amount of data, but they cost quite a lot and at this price point it’s just smarter to get a commitment-free SIM from VOXI (also powered and owned by Vodafone). Plus, VOXI’s more expensive tariffs come with 5G at no extra cost, endless video and endless social media, and you’ll still end up paying less. Vodafone’s £30 and £40 Unlimited Bundle provide 5G coverage, the latter also includes unlimited minutes, texts and data.

If you’re not using a Vodafone PAYG Bundle, or use up all of your data allowance you’ll pay 35/p for voice calls, 20p per text messages and £2 a day for up to 50MB of data. Additional data past 50MB costs 10p/MB and calling special rate numbers will cost 45p/minute + service charges from the company you’re calling.

As for Talkmobile, they don’t offer any pay as you go plans. The network used to offer a PAYG service, but it got shelved in August 2017. We don’t think it will come back any time soon.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-vodafoneSince Talkmobile doesn’t offer any PAYG services, the win belongs to Vodafone, but we strongly recommend checking out VOXI’s (another Vodafone powered MVNO) SIM only plans for they’re much cheaper and offer more value.

Pay Monthly Phones

Vodafone has great handset options on both pay monthly phone contracts and pay as you go phone deals. Sadly, there are no handset offers on Talkmobile, just SIM only deals.

On Vodafone, you can find a great variety of smartphones from manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Google, OPPO and more. All Vodafone pay monthly phone plans are 24-month contracts with no exceptions. Their phone offers also come with some extra benefits and you can get a significant discount when you pre-order a device such as the 5G Ready Samsung Galaxy S21.

Overall, Vodafone is a great choice for upgrading your handset, but you may want to check out some of the refurbished phone deals first, or get your handset from a retailer and just sign up for a SIM only contract.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-vodafoneNo surprises here. Given how Talkmobile doesn’t even sell phones, Vodafone is obviously the winner of this category.

Network Coverage & Speeds

4G Coverage

Talkmobile is a mobile virtual network owned and operated by Vodafone. In terms of 4G, 3G and 2G coverage the two carriers offer an identical network experience. Since Vodafone doesn’t enforce any speed restrictions on Talkmobile, these two mobile network operators provide pretty much the same download and upload speeds.

All four major mobile network operators provide over 99% population coverage, but landmass coverage is more important and Vodafone shines here. Their UK landmass coverage is above 90%, Vodafone is still behind EE, but ahead of O2 and Three.

While both carriers offer decent countrywide 4G coverage, there are still many blindspots to be aware of. Therefore, we strongly recommend using Vodafone’s network coverage map and check where you are planning to frequently use your mobile device. You can back out of a deal within the first 14 days, but past that point cancelling your mobile contract early will be very hard, and you’ll most likely end up having to pay a contract termination penalty.

If you want to experience the best 4G can offer in the UK, we strongly recommend checking out our EE Review. You can also read our EE vs Vodafone article and discover how these two network giants compare.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-vodafoneIt should be a tie, after all both networks offer identical network coverage when it comes to 4G, 3G and 2G. However, Vodafone customers benefit from multiple voice call quality improving features (Wi-Fi Calling and 4G Calling), therefore Vodafone is a little ahead of Talkmobile here.

5G Coverage

At the time of writing, Vodafone’s 5G service is available on the Unlimited Max plan, Unlimited PAYG Bundle, £30 PAYG bundle and all Vodafone Red plans with 5GB of data or more.

Vodafone’s 5G coverage is live and available in 57 towns and cities in the UK, and another 193 locations across Germany, Italy, Spain and Ireland. Vodafone and VOXI are the only two UK networks offering 5G abroad. Currently, Vodafone offers the least 5G coverage in the UK.

In terms of 5G download speeds, Vodafone ranks as third best among the four networks, per OOKLA’s October 2020 speed test results. Vodafone’s average 5G download speeds are around 150Mbps. Whilst their 5G speeds are not as fast as Three or O2, it’s more than enough to simultaneously stream 4K videos, play online video games, and do other data heavy activities.

Unfortunately, Talkmobile doesn’t have 5G yet, in fact there are yet to be any announcements. Given how it took Talkmobile a considerable amount of time to make the switch to 4G, we don’t expect them to offer 5G any time soon.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-vodafoneYet another win for Vodafone. Talkmobile doesn’t have 5G yet. When they launch their 5G service, we’ll update this article.

Voice Call Quality

According to Open Signal and umlaut, Vodafone’s call setup times are much faster than O2, Three and their MVNOs; also pretty much on par with EE depending on the location. Of course, this means the same applies for Talkmobile. Vodafone uses the 800MHz and 2600MHz bands for 4G and 900MHz to 2100MHz for 3G. Low frequency bands (800MHz and 900MHz) are long range, hence they travel further and they’re also better at penetrating physical obstacles. This means Vodafone is one of the better choices if you’re living in a rural area where there aren’t many masts. O2 also makes use of lower frequency bands, and as a result these two carriers offer better indoor coverage. However, this doesn’t guarantee you’ll get good indoor coverage as there are many other factors that also need to be considered.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-vodafoneThe base experience is identical between Vodafone and Talkmobile, but once again, premium features like 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling makes Vodafone a better network in terms of voice call quality.

Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling

Earlier, we mentioned these two voice call quality improving features and now we’ll explain what they do and why we think they’re a great feature to have.

4G Calling (also known as VoLTE) lets your handset make calls over a 4G network instead of 3G, allowing you to have access to 4G download speeds even when you’re on a call. Calls made over 4G are higher definition, meaning they’re much clearer. This feature also increases your phone’s 4G coverage and eliminates most indoor blackspots.

Wi-Fi Calling lets you make and receive calls & texts using a Wi-Fi connection that has internet access. Your phone will stay connected even if there is no coverage. Wi-Fi Calling completes 4G Calling, getting you full coverage at your home or office.

Vodafone’s pay monthly plans (except Basics) come with both 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling at no extra cost. On the other hand, Talkmobile doesn’t offer either. Vodafone’s 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling are only available in the UK.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-vodafoneNeedless to say, Vodafone once again grabs the win. Talkmobile doesn’t have any extras improving your coverage and voice calls after all. Vodafone has VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling, but only on their premium plans.

Free Wi-Fi Hotspots

Both Vodafone and Talkmobile customers can use O2 Wi-Fi (not O2 WiFi Extra) and Sky Mobile’s the Cloud at no extra cost. Having said that, these two services are available to all mobile customers in the UK. They’re not exclusive deals available to Vodafone/Talkmobile users.

On top of that, Vodafone customers get free Wi-Fi access on the London Underground at over 250 stations, thanks to Virgin Mobile. This service is available to Vodafone’s pay monthly or business customers, as well as pay as you go customers with a PAYG bundle.

Free Wi-Fi hotspots are a great way to save some mobile data, but Vodafone isn’t the best option out there. We recommend having a look at our BT Mobile Review and Virgin Mobile Review as these two are the best networks with a free Wi-Fi service, offering millions of hotspots to their customers across the UK.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-vodafoneThere are no exclusive free Wi-Fi deals on Vodafone, but you still get more hotspots to connect to vs. Talk Mobile, therefore Vodafone is once again the better choice.

Tethering

Tethering refers to turning your handset into a mobile hotspot, a portable Wi-Fi router so to speak. When you turn on tethering, you create a small localised wireless network and start sharing your mobile data with other compatible devices such as other smartphones, laptops, gadgets etc.

Both networks allow tethering without any limitations, meaning as much as your device can handle. However, it’s important to keep in mind that, having multiple devices connected to your mobile hotspot means you’ll eat up your mobile data at a much faster rate. Of course, hotspot data usage is directly related to what you are doing; watching a 4K video and streaming a song on an app won’t eat up the same amount of data.

Talkmobile doesn’t have an unlimited data plan, meanwhile Vodafone offers four different unlimited data plans to choose from. We think it’s important to have a large data plan, if not an unlimited data plan, if you’re planning to tether to other devices on a regular basis. One thing you should always be extra careful when tethering is that you turn the feature off once you’ve finished.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-vodafoneThis one is a tight race. It could even be a tie, but we think unlimited data plans are the only ideal way to tether carefree, and even then some unlimited data plans have limits. Since Vodafone offers a nice variety of unlimited data options, we are giving the win to them.

International Roaming

Vodafone’s base roaming deal allows you to use your data, minutes and texts in 51 European destinations. You can add an extra 104 destinations to this deal by purchasing the Roam Further add-on, priced at £6 a day. Vodafone Unlimited Max plan includes ‘Global Roaming Plus’, Vodafone’s best roaming deal, which allows you to use your UK allowances in 81 destinations across the world. This is also the best roaming deal in the UK, even better than Three Go Roam.

In addition , Vodafone is the first UK mobile network to offer 5G roaming and currently the only one alongside their MVNO, VOXI. Keep in mind that all of their unlimited data tariffs are subject to a roaming cap of 25GB/month.

Talkmobile customers can use their UK allowances in 41 destinations across the EU. Unfortunately, there are no add-ons or any other extras to increase the number of free roaming destinations on Talkmobile.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-vodafoneVodafone’s roaming schemes rank as the best in the market. Talkmobile’s inclusive roaming is limited to just 41 EU destinations. Needless to say, Vodafone is the better choice, hands down.

Features

Vodafone’s Features

Vodafone customers are able to enjoy many great perks and features, as well as personalised rewards, and some eye catching entertainment options.

VeryMe Rewards

vodafone-veryme-rewardsThis is Vodafone’s loyalty programme and we love it. You get weekly treats and giveaways that change to match your interests. The more you interact with My Vodafone app the more personalised your rewards become. You’ll get discounts, prize draws and freebies from popular brands. These rewards are updated weekly, so make sure to regularly check the app.

You’ll need the My Vodafone app in order to access VeryMe Rewards. All Vodafone pay monthly customers, business customers (with 1 to 9 employees) and pay as you go customers topping up £10 or more every 6 weeks are eligible for these rewards.

Entertainment Packs

Vodafone Entertainment PackagesYou can buy a Vodafone plan with an entertainment pack for an extra £7/month. You can choose between YouTube Premium, Spotify Premium and Amazon Prime. Make sure to pick the one that matches your interests the most, because once you’ve chosen a pack, you won’t be able to change it and you’ll have to pay for it for the rest of your contract.

You can add an Entertainment Pack to all pay monthly plans except Vodafone Basics tariffs, 1GB plans, Unlimited Lite plans and 30-day contracts.

Data Rollover

Vodafone’s pay as you go bundles (Big Value Bundles) come with a rollover scheme called Total Rollover. This feature lets you carry over any leftover data , minutes and texts into the next 30-day bundle. Remaining allowances can be rolled over once, meaning you have to use them up within the next 30-day period. You’ll always use your carried over allowances first.

You won’t be able to benefit from Total Rollover, if you renew your PAYG bundle early, change to a different PAYG bundle, your PAYG bundle doesn’t auto-renew on day 30, or if you renew your big value bundle after more than 30 days.

Loyalty Discount

Vodafone offers a 15% loyalty discount on additional SIM and device plans to their existing customers. You can use this deal as a family mobile plan, as the main account can manage all the other lines via My Vodafone app.

Talkmobile’s Features

Simple and Affordable SIM Contracts

Unfortunately, Talkmobile doesn’t offer any extras or exclusive benefits. They offer cheap, high value price plans and keep everything straightforward to maintain their low prices.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

winner-vodafoneTalkmobile doesn’t really offer any features, all you can get is half price during any discount periods. Meanwhile, Vodafone is full of exciting features, benefits and rewards. Yet another easy win for Vodafone here.

Half Cooked’s Overall Breakdown

winner-vodafoneBeing the owner and network provider of Talkmobile, Vodafone is obviously the superior carrier between the two. However, this comparison is shockingly one sided as the MVNO doesn’t get a single win against its parent network. If it wasn’t for Vodafone Basics plans we could recommend Talkmobile for their wallet-friendly prices.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does Vodafone own Talkmobile?

Yes, just like VOXI, Talkmobile also belongs to Vodafone. Talkmobile uses Vodafone as its network provider.

Is Talkmobile cheaper than Vodafone?

In a sense, yes. Talkmobile’s SIM only deals are cheaper than Vodafone RED plans, but they’re on par with Vodafone Basics plans. In fact, these two types of plans fill each other's gaps.

Is Vodafone faster than Talkmobile?

Yes, but only when you have a 5G ready plan and a 5G ready device. In terms of 4G data speeds, both networks offer identical services.

Does Talkmobile have 5G?

No, Talkmobile doesn’t offer 5G yet. We don’t expect Talkmobile to offer 5G any time soon. They were slow to make the switch to 4G as well. You can check out VOXI’s SIM only deals though.

Do I have to pass a credit check to join Talkmobile?

Yes, unfortunately Talkmobile only offers SIM only pay monthly contracts. They don’t offer a pay as you go service, nor do they offer prepaid 30-day SIM deals.