Vodafone pay-as-you-go call change could cost you double

Vodafone has warned pay-as-you-go users that it will change its call pricing from August 1, rounding up calls to the nearest minute in a shift that could nearly double the price of some conversations. The news, billed by Vodafone as making its prepay pricing "simpler", sees all voice calls rounded up rather than charged per-second as per the current system (with a one minute minimum). That means a call that just edges over 60 seconds would be automatically charged as if it lasted for two minutes.

Vodafone says the "pay by the minute" switch will mean that subscribers always know how much credit and any bundled minutes they have left. The new approach will affect calls to UK and international landlines and mobiles, along with calls to Vodafone voicemail.

However, while the system may be more understandable (and likely easier for Vodafone's own systems), it could also be more expensive. A 62 second call under the existing pricing plan would be £0.26; however, under Vodafone's new pricing strategy, the same call would be £0.50.

That might not sound much, in isolation, but added up over the course of the average monthly use of a phone and it could mean chewing through a user's credit far more quickly than previously expected. Even if the PAYG user has opted to buy minutes upfront, they too will be crunched through more swiftly with Vodafone counting a 61 second call as in fact lasting two minutes.

The new calling conditions kick into effect on August 1. You can find the existing calling plans at Vodafone's help site [pdf link]

VIA Jonathan Morris