Vodafone today launched new prepaid plans branded All-Time, which it says aim to offer similar features for prepaid customers as its Infinite range does for contract deals. As with those plans, there are good and bad features in the new offer. Here's what you need to know.All-Time comes in two flavours: $35 and $55. Both have a 30-day expiry, and offer unlimited Australian texts, unlimited calls to other 3/Vodafone users, and unlimited access to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and FourSquare.
The $35 plan offers free calls to any Australian landline and mobile number between 7pm and 7am on weekdays and all weekend, and includes 250MB of data. The $55 plan drops the time restrictions, offering unlimited calls to Australian numbers, and 1GB of data. Your monthly fee also acts as credit for other options: PXT, international texts and calls, 13 and 1800 numbers, and Australian daytime calls on the $35 plan.
Certainty of pricing. In practice, most customers are fairly unlikely to exceed the credit offered (Vodafone wouldn't offer the plans if it hadn't already calculated that). If you're a text-heavy user or have lots of friends and relatives on 3/Vodafone, it could be a good deal.
Solid data inclusions. 250MB of data isn't massive, but should be enough for many casual users — especially given the free social networking options.
You can quit whenever you want. True of any postpaid deal, but worth remembering.
It's on Vodafone. Vodafone has the worst reputation of any of the Australian networks right now; unlimited calls don't mean much if the signal is non-existent. Vodafone is working to improve its network, but many former customers are understandably reluctant to trust it.
The time limits could be annoying. Making the most of the free call period on the $35 plan will need discipline and organisation. If you have discipline and organisation, you might get better value on a different PAYG deal.
Voicemail isn't a free inclusion. If you're a heavy voicemail user, that could eat into your credit balance.
Postpaid offers better value. This is invariably the case, but worth pointing out: what you get on the existing postpaid plans is generally better value, especially if you get a handset thrown in. (Of course, if you're not deemed credit-worthy, that's a moot point.)
Excess data is expensive. 50 cents a megabyte isn't the worst deal on the market, but it isn't cheap either.
OK, that's our take. What's your thought on the new plans?