Vodafone 3G PAYG Top Up and Go gone bad

02May10

The arrival of my shiny new Lenovo X201 Tablet meant that I had to lay my hands on a 3G SIM so that I could try out its WWAN (the 3 SIM in my MiFi was pressed into other duties, but that’s another story for another day).

For a while I’ve been recommending Vodafone’s Top Up and Go (TUG) to friends and family, so I took my own advice and picked up a package from Maplin (knowing already that a SIM only approach was futile, and that I’d have to get an extraneous ‘dongle’). The best bit about TUG was that the credit didn’t expire so long as you used it every 6 months, so I was dismayed to discover that TUG credit now expires after 30 days. The counterbalance is that you now get 3GB for your £15 (rather than the old 1GB), but this isn’t a fair swap in my mind, and it seems that I’m not alone in thinking this. The official line on what’s going on is in Vodafone’s forum.

I typically use around 900MB of 3G data in a month, so the old Vodafone deal would have been perfect for me (as an alternative to my £15/15GB with 3). If I wasn’t tied into a 2yr deal with 3 I might have swapped already. I’d be very surprised however to find myself topping up much (if at all) on the new deal. For me Vodafone has lost a customer and recommender by joining the race to the bottom and losing its key differentiation (though coverage on my daily commute has been great). At the same time it seems that O2 and T-Mobile are becoming more friendly to the occasional user by offering £2/day tariffs and the ability to buy weeks (as well as months). Perhaps the trend here is to sell on time rather than data volume, but if that’s the case then Vodafone isn’t offering the choice that others are.

It’s also worth mentioning that Vodafone have stood up an new APN to support this new PAYG rate, so you need to configure the APN as ppbundle.internet. The username/password remain the same as ever as web/web. It took me a while to dig this out of the web so that I could configure my modem right, as most sites still have the old pp.internet guidance.



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