APPLE’S new iPhone 13 series has started to land on store shelves across the UK, which means that last year’s flagship iPhone series has enjoyed a VERY welcome price cut. UK networks, including EE, Vodafone, O2, Three, Virgin Media and others are offering some stellar deals on the Apple handset.
APPLE has taken the wraps off its all-new iPhone 13 series, which means that last year’s flagship smartphone has enjoyed a price cut. UK networks, including EE, Vodafone, Three, and others are offering some stellar deals on the Apple handset.
Virgin Media O2 has become the first carrier to successfully test a new mobile signal boosting technology. Dubbed Neutral Host In-Building (NHIB), the system is designed to increase the signal indoors for 4G and 5G networks. This will be used in business and public venues, so you won’t lose the signal in car parks, shopping centres, offices, and more.
Although Virgin Media O2 was the first to test NHIB, the technology will work across all mobile networks. So, if the signal boosting system is installed in your local library or train station, your 4G signal from Three or Vodafone will be upgraded so you can continue to send text messages, reply to WhatsApp messages and make calls indoors.
The first test was carried out in London’s Canary Wharf in an unspecified workplace.
With one trial under their belt, we’d expect to see more mobile carriers push ahead with tests of this new technology. As millions leave their homes and return to the office, bringing strong 4G and 5G signals across public and enterprise buildings is hugely important. While there are often public Wi-Fi networks available – many free to join – these often require users to hand over some personal information, including name, email address and phone number to gain access.
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That’s not something that everyone will be comfortable with. Without a VPN activated on your device, it’s possible for gadgets to be vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle style attack, where a scam artist connected to the same Wi-Fi network can intercept traffic from your smartphone, tablet or computer – including key details like payment information during the checkout process, text messages, and more.
Relying on your existing 4G or 5G network in a busy public building removes that risk.
Speaking about the successful trial by Virgin Media O2, director of radio engineering for the company, Omar Calvo said: “Customer experience and mobile connectivity is central to our values and the businesses we support. To deliver a great Virgin Media O2 network experience inside buildings, we are joining with several different industry partners, including Freshwave, to build state-of-the-art shared in-building small cell solutions.
“This technology is aligned to the new JOTS Neutral Host In-Building (NHIB) specification, an initiative led by Virgin Media O2. I’m proud to say Virgin Media O2 is the first UK mobile network operator to support live calls on NHIB small cells and we see this as an exciting milestone for Virgin Media O2 and we believe it will transform the way mobile coverage is delivered into offices and indoor public venues.”
With any luck, we’ll hear more about the progress of this industry-standard technology soon.
Vodafone is offering free 5G data to customers of its Voxi service. All new and existing customers of the contract free mobile operator will be offered the superfast 5G mobile data as standard at “no extra cost”. Voxi said the 5G upgrade “means that every customer will be able to download and stream up to ten times faster – even when in busy places”.
Announcing the news on Twitter, Voxi said: “5G is fast. Really fast. And now we’ve added it to all our plans, at no extra cost. So you can enjoy super-speedy, buffering-free #5G, at home and abroad, from just £10/month – all you need is a 5G-ready phone.”
As reported by ISPreview, until July 29 new customers can also claim even more data thanks to a new deal.
This offers 15GB of data for just £10 – which is the usual price for 8GB of monthly data.
Not only that, Voxi also gives customers endless data for Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and Twitter.
READ MORE: As O2 and EE resurrect EU roaming charges, what about Vodafone, Three?
You can also cancel your contract at any time, and – unlike many other mobile providers – Voxi is still offering EU roaming.
So you can use calls, texts and data in the EU without having to pay any exorbitant fees.
Just be aware there’s a 20GB fair usage limit on the data.
If you like the sound of this mobile phone package then click here to head to the Voxi website.
Voxi is also 20GB of monthly data for £15 per month – which is the price of 15GB usually.
This package offers the same perks as the 15GB deal with one other added bonus.
The 20GB deal for £15 per month also includes Voxi’s Endless Video.
This means you can stream TikTok, or Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video without eating into your monthly data allowance.
One of the big benefits of Voxi is Endless Flexibility, which means it’s easy to cancel your Voxi plan at anytime.
Explaining this feature, Voxi said: “Our flexible monthly plans keep you in control so you’re free to change, pause or cancel your plan anytime. Even if you buy a phone with us, this flexibility still applies and you’re not tied into your VOXI plan.”
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That includes access to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which will boast 55 live event feeds and 2,000 hours of on-demand action. Even though the six-month subscription is paid by Vodafone, you won’t be limited to stream shows and movies on your smartphone.
You’ll be able to use your Discovery+ anywhere with the app, including Sky Q, Fire TV, Apple TV and other popular set-top boxes, Smart TVs, and games consoles with access to streaming services.
If you’re subscribed to NOW and gutted about the recent removal – or even if you’ve subscribed to NOW and just fancy streaming the latest sporting action, documentary films or must-binge shows, you can redeem the offer right now. Using VeryMe or the Vodafone companion app on iPhone and Android, customers will be able to jump into a six-month subscription for free.
If your phone contract has come to end and don’t fancy an upgrade to a new handset, then it’s a very good idea to make the switch over to a SIM-only plan. These deals will always be cheaper as they don’t include a fee for the handset. When you take out a smartphone plan, a chunk of the monthly price goes towards the cost of the handset, but once the deal ends you no longer need to fork out for those higher costs.
Crucially, if you don’t take the time to switch from a previous phone contract – or upgrade to a new handset – your network will continue to charge the same monthly bill, even though you’ve paid the full bill for the smartphone at the end of the 24-months contract.
All of the major networks offer SIM-only deals and right now there are some big bargains to be bagged, including offers that include fully unlimited data which means your Netflix binge should never come to a stuttering halt and you won’t be charged extra to add more internet access as it will never run out.
Perhaps one of the best unlimited data deals comes from Three, which is offering six months at half the usual price. That means you’ll pay just £10 per month for six months then £20 for the remainder of the contract. This deal also includes access to 5G speeds plus unlimited calls and texts.
Along with Three, Vodafone has also dropped the cost of its unlimited Max SIM which also features all-you-can-eat 5G data. It now costs £25 per month which save £120 over the term of the contract.
Vodafone Max includes 51 roam-free destinations and the fastest speeds possible via the firm’s 5G network which could mean downloads are whizzed to the device at over 200Mbps. This Vodafone offer ends on July 25 so you’ll need to be quick
Next up it’s SMARTY who is offering unlimited data at a discounted price. The Three-powered network has its SIM for just £18 per month which saves £2 off the standard price. You also get unlimited calls and texts plus there’s no long-term contract to sign meaning you can leave at any time. This SMARTY deal ends on July 13.
If your chosen network is EE then there’s a very tempting deal currently available via its website. There’s unlimited data, but the offer includes 160GB of fast 5G for just £20 per month which is pretty good considering EE is one of the pricer networks to join.
Vodafone thinks it has come up with the perfect way to buy your next smartphone. The UK network has just announced the launch of its new EVO plans which offer a number of features rivals such as EE and Three can’t match. Vodafone says that EVO is “setting a new benchmark in flexibility and value for customers” with those signing up able to decide exactly how they want to pay for their shiny new iPhone or Android device.
EVO basically lets you trade in an old phone to reduce the upfront cost, then you can put down as much money as you like to bring the monthly payments down even further. The remainder of the balance can then be paid over 12 to 36 months with Vodafone not charging any interest on the amount you owe.
The network says customers will be able to pick and choose how much data they need each month with deals starting from 2GB. Unlimited options will also be available. Along with that more affordable way to buy a new phone there are other benefits to EVO including the option to upgrade to a new smartphone before the end of the contract.
These flexible upgrades mean you aren’t tied to the device for the full length of the contract, and after 12 months it’s possible to trade things in and use the value of the current device to help pay things off.
Speaking about the launch Max Taylor, Consumer Director at Vodafone UK, said: “In 2019, we shook up the market with 5G at no extra cost and Unlimited data plans. Now we’re changing the market again. With budgets squeezed for so many people, we’re launching a completely new way of buying a smartphone focused on ensuring our customers are in control and getting the best possible value.
“New Vodafone EVO allows customers to get the smartphone they want at the price they choose. We are setting a new benchmark for flexibility, combining the benefits of device contracts of up to three years, a market-leading trade-in service and the option to upgrade from one year.
“We’re putting the customer in charge – we’re giving them unbeatable flexibility and value, but making sure they don’t have to compromise on quality, with a great network, a great loyalty programme, and great service.”
One million people will soon be offered free data, calls and text messages thanks to a new charitable initiative from Vodafone. Dubbed “Buy One, Give One”, the new offer will allow consumers who are struggling financially the chance to get a Vodafone SIM card that will keep them connected for a year. For every new and existing Vodafone Together household, which is connected entirely by Vodafone, the network will then provide a person in need with a SIM card.
Each SIM will come pre-loaded with 20GB of data plus free calls and texts each month for up to a year. These SIMs will be distributed through the Trussell Trust’s network of 1,300 food bank centres.
Vodafone says it has launched this offer in a bid to tackle digital exclusion with the network saying it hopes to meet its target of issuing one million SIMs to customers by the end of 2022.
Speaking at Vodafone’s Reinvent conference, Ahmed Essam, Vodafone UK CEO, added: “Over the last year, people across the UK have realised just how important connectivity is, and the major role it plays in many aspects of our lives – work, play, education, healthcare and keeping in touch with those closest to us.
“Today we are committing to helping one million more people get connected, and to developing the knowledge and confidence necessary in a society that increasingly demands a digital connection. ‘Buy One, Give One’ puts tackling digital poverty, and doing the right thing, at the heart of our business.”
Along with this generous “Buy One, Give One” free SIM incentive, Vodafone has also revealed its new EVO plans which are aimed at giving customers more features and flexibility. EVO will launch later this month and allow users to choose how much they want to pay upfront for their phones and how long they want the contract to run for.
Like a mortgage, the more money you’ll willing to pay upfront for a smartphone, the smaller the monthly repayments will be. So, if you don’t have quite enough for a SIM-free iPhone 12 (£999) from the Apple Store, but have enough to make a dent – you won’t have to pay over the odds each month with your contract. And you won’t be roped-in for multiple years, either.
According to Vodafone, its EVO plans will include easier ways to upgrade each year and, for those who want to keep hold of their devices, Vodafone will even offer a free battery replacement so that your battery life is as good as new when you finish your contract.
Speaking about EVO, Max Taylor, Consumer Director at Vodafone UK, said: “In 2019, we shook up the market with 5G at no extra cost and Unlimited data plans. Now we’re changing the market again. With budgets squeezed for so many people, we’re launching a completely new way of buying a smartphone focused on ensuring our customers are in control and getting the best possible value.”
If you spend hours on TikTok watching video after video, you’ll want to take notice of the latest announcement from Vodafone. The UK network is now offering unlimited data when watching content on video-sharing platform TikTok, meaning you should never run out of internet access ever again. This upgrade is part of Vodafone’s VOXI service which already offered unlimited access to content on YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, My5, TVPlayer and UKTV Play. And now, TikTok is joining this plan, which VOXI calls Endless Video.
Vodafone says that prices start from £15 per month which includes unlimited calls and text plus 20GB of data. That’s not the biggest data bundle ever but all content streamed via TikTok and the other services mentioned above won’t count towards that small limit.
Another bonus is that VOXI tariffs also include Endless Social Media (unlimited data for Facebook & Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Snapchat and Twitter) and 5G at no extra cost.
Customers currently on a 15GB or 45GB 5G plan with Endless Video will also automatically be upgraded to enjoy endless streaming on TikTok from today.
Speaking about the update, Scott Currie, Head of VOXI, said: “We have seen how incredibly popular TikTok is with our VOXI customers, with usage having spiked massively over the last year. By adding TikTok to our Endless Video plans we are giving our customers the freedom to access the content and channels they love, with simple, cost-effective prices – on a mobile network they can count on.”
It is worth noting that a number of rival networks continue to offer fully unlimited data no matter what you are watching when away from your broadband.
SMARTY, which uses Three’s 3G and 4G signal and doesn’t require customers to sign up to a length contract, says this unlimited SIM deal is available until July 13. Three is offering its unlimited data plan half price for the first six months with it then costing £20 per month for the rest of the term.
Vodafone thinks it has solved the biggest headache of any broadband customer – losing their internet connection. The firm’s new Pro Broadband service sports a fast connection to the web using your standard cable, but also adds a mobile internet signal as a backup. This basically means that, if the worst happens and your fixed-line broadband suffers an outage in your area, you should never be without access to the web thanks to the 4G mobile signal keeping the Wi-Fi in your home running as normal.
It’s clearly a clever idea, but Vodafone does charge a premium for this service – a whole £15 extra per month, to be exact – so is it worth that extra money? Express.co.uk has been putting it to the test and here are our thoughts on Vodafone’s Pro Broadband.
Vodafone Pro Broadband review: How much is peace of mind really worth?
Let’s start with the set-up. Getting things up and running is so simple, anyone should easily install things without an engineer turning up with a drill. As long as you have a standard broadband line running into your home, you simply plug in Vodafone’s new Wi-Fi Hub, then wait a few minutes for things to connect.
From the kit arriving in the post to downloading our first movie, the whole process took a matter of minutes and the simplicity continues with a very easy-to-use smartphone app. This application links directly to the router and allows you to check download speeds, see what devices are connected and monitor the overall health of your internet.
Vodafone Pro Broadband offers an always-on connection even if the fixed-line goes down (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)
Another great feature is the ability to set up a guest connection which offers a unique password for visitors and a time limit. This is perfect for when the neighbours come over for the afternoon and need some internet – as soon as they leave, it’s easy to boot them off your broadband and make sure they’re not sapping your precious speeds from next door.
Along with the main router, you’ll also be sent a booster box that can be placed in another room to help make sure the Wi-Fi signal reaches every corner of your home. Again, this really easy to install with the app taking you through each step of the process. With everything up and running you shouldn’t find any dead spots.
We tested Vodafone’s broadband in a four-bedroom property spread across three floors and the signal stayed strong throughout our time with this broadband.
The 4G network is supplied to the Hub via dongle (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)
The dongle slots into the Hub and is a little clunky (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)
Another neat bonus that comes as part of the price is instant access to help. Vodafone’s Wi-Fi Xperts are a dedicated team of highly trained broadband and Wi-Fi engineers who will proactively monitor and fix customers’ issues. They’ll even be in touch in the first ten days to make sure you are set up and your broadband is tailored to your home.
It’s a nice touch as you’ll get a text asking if it’s OK to call followed by a real and very knowledgeable person on the other end of the phone. Of course, one of the main reasons for choosing Pro broadband is the promise that your internet will never go offline.
With more of us than ever working from home, Vodafone’s new service should mean you never miss a morning Zoom call with the team – even if there’s an outage on your street and everyone else is offline.
This all works via the router instantly switching over to Vodafone’s 4G signal the minute the fixed-line goes down. It’s worth noting that the 4G is pumped into the router via a standard dongle that slots into the rear of the hub. It’s slightly clunky and it would be better if all of this tech was neatly tucked inside the shell, but it’s still better than the headache of an outage.
Now, you might be thinking what’s the point of this as most networks offer a separate 4G dongle which you can quickly connect to should things go wrong. That’s a fair point, but where Vodafone has the advantage is that the main router always stays online no matter what happens on your street.
If like most people, you have a swathe of gadgets hooked up to this hub it means they will all continue to work until the fixed-line issue is repaired and you won’t have to start digging into the settings on every Echo, laptop, smart TV and camera to keep them online.
A comprehensive app offers a number of settings and options (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)
Of course, 4G isn’t as fast as standard broadband so you probably won’t want to try and download a blockbuster PS5 game but it’s easily good enough for video calls and some music streaming.
Vodafone supplies a SIM with 50GB of data but the company has confirmed to Express.co.uk that this will be topped up if an outage lasts for a long period of time. There’s clearly loads to love about Pro broadband but we do have a couple of niggles.
Like most routers, the Vodafone Hub that arrives with this plan is pretty chunky and the 4G dongle that pokes out of its rear case isn’t the prettiest piece of design we’ve ever seen.
Then there are the overall speeds. Vodafone is reliant on the Openreach network and not everyone is connected to its fast fibre downloads. We tested this service in Greater London but could only get a maximum of 75Mbps, while Virgin Media offers next-generation 1Gbps speeds to the exact same address.
This clearly isn’t Vodafone’s fault – it’s Openreach’s! – but it is worth checking the speeds in your area before signing up.
Finally, there’s the price as it is pretty expensive. The standard price for Vodafone’s Fibre 2 is currently £22 per month. Add the Pro service and you’ll face a monthly bill of £37. It’s almost like your paying an insurance policy to make sure your home stays connected 24/7.
That’s fine but during our months of testing the fixed-line stayed fully working and we never switched to 4G so you may end up wondering if it’s really worth paying the premium.
Vodafone Pro Broadband review: Final Verdict
PROS – Broadband that never goes offline • Great app • Easy set-up • Instant access to help CONS – Very expensive • 4G dongle design is clunky • Speeds are reliant on Openreach
Vodafone’s Pro broadband service is certainly appealing. The fact that it will never go offline will be a relief to millions who can’t afford to be without a connection to the web for work, studies, or Netflix binges.
The router is simple to set up and the access to instant help and a comprehensive app make this a very good option, plus you get that booster box to make sure no members of the family will moan that they can’t get a good connection in their bedrooms.
Our only real problems with this new plan are the speeds it offers and the price. If you’re lucky you could find the latest Openreach tech brings downloads at over 900Mbps but, sadly, the best we were offered was just 75Mbps.
Clearly, the download rate on your street is not Vodafone’s fault as they are in the hands of Openreach but it might not be fast enough for your daily digital needs. Then there’s the price as those 75Mbps downloads will cost you a pretty hefty £37 per month. Get Vodafone’s same plan but without those Pro features and you’ll pay just £22 a month. Over the course of a two-year contract, that’s a saving of some £350.
If you really can’t afford to be without the web, then it’s hard to fault Vodafone’s Pro broadband. However, like with any insurance policy, you really just need to decide whether it’s worth that high price.