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Basic PAYG vs PAYG1 vs Big Value Bundles

Community Champion (Retired)

I’m about to stand down from the Forum, but Vodafone’s PAYG offering has had a couple of interesting developments during 2017, first with the introduction of the bargain-basement £5 Big Value Bundle, second with the introduction of PAYG1. So, as my parting shot, I thought I’d offer a few thoughts on the relative merits of traditional PAYG, PAYG1, and BVBs. [In the following, I am using the prices and rates applying today, and the term “month” means 30 days.]

It all depends very much on the pattern of usage by the individual customer.

Very occasional use: If your aim is to keep your SIM active by making the minimum chargeable usage of one call or text per 180 days, then the difference in cost between PAYG and PAYG1 is minimal. However, you are probably keeping your SIM and phone active for a reason, such as the possibility of a family or health crisis of some sort. In my experience, such crises usually involve a burst of phone activity over a few days, and the reassurance of a £1 per day limit on the cost of calls and texts gives PAYG1 a considerable edge over PAYG. If the crisis continues for an extended period, you might want to consider switching to a BVB for a while, but that is for then, not for now.

Light/occasional use: This is where the individual pattern comes in. If you are making just one call or sending one text virtually every day, on PAYG1 this would cost you up to £6 across 30 days, and you would be marginally better off with the £5 BVB. If your usage is restricted to a few calls on a Saturday, then generally PAYG1 would suit you better.

Light regular use: Two or three “units” of use a day on PAYG1 would mount up to £12-£18 across 30 days, and at this level of use, the £5 BVB is the clear winner. As your rate of usage increases, the higher value BVBs take over, and again win out over PAYG1.

Another aspect to bear in mind is the “total rollover” that comes with the various BVBs - any unused allowances are carried over to the next BVB. Although the carry-over is for one month only, in month 2 you will start by using up the leftovers from month 1, and there will be more of month 2’s allowance to carry over to month 3. If you continue with the same value of BVB each month, and “underspend” slightly each month, you eventually reach a steady state in which, during month n+1, the full allowance from month n has rolled over and will cover your usage. So you have plenty of margin to cover higher than normal usage in the event of a minor crisis.

Of course, the other side of the coin is that, during a big enough crisis, you could use up all of your available allowances with a BVB, and incur OOB charges or have to buy an Extra. In which case the £1 per day limit of PAYG1 might have been better!

You’ll realise that I haven’t mentioned data usage here! Firstly, if you plan to use any data, then straight PAYG will be expensive. Beyond that, it’s very dependent upon your pattern of usage, but anyone who is using some data most days, and making some calls and texts, is likely to find one of the BVBs better value than PAYG1. I can dream up scenarios in which PAYG1 is more cost effective, but, if this post is ever to reach an end, I have to leave that to you.

And a final couple of thoughts. On all varieties of PAYG you can’t run up debt once you’ve used up your credit balance (apart from max £3 if you’ve opted in to IOU), so no danger of a sickening “bill shock” if you get things badly wrong. And, if you find that your choice of tariff is no longer working for you, you can change to another at any time, though it’s usually best to sort this out towards the end of the 30-day “month”. You don’t need a different SIM, BTW.

So, as they say, ENJOY!

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Thanks for taking the time to write this @Annie_N! Your knowledge of Pay as you go has always been very valuable to the Community.

I'm sure your post will help lots of people that would like to know more about the options we have available and the benefits of Pay as you go :Smiling:

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