In March 2021, I returned from Taiwan after a year.
Then I did not go on a trip for a year because of travel restrictions.
So in February 2022, I decided I would go on a trip again in March 2022.
Mostly because travel restrictions were being lifted left and right.
So, what is the best way to catch up on a year of lost travel time?
Visit as many countries as you can within a month.
I really love how easy it is to travel throughout Europe!
If this is your first Phone Travel Wiz review – welcome.
I buy and test all/most SIM cards in a country and tell you which ones are the best so that you do not have to 😎.
You have probably heard of Vodafone before – perhaps you even use Vodafone's services at home.
Or you may have tried Vodafone in another country.
Vodafone is often a hit or miss – it can be the best option in a country or the absolute worse.
So what about in the Netherlands? Is Vodafone Netherlands any good?
And that is what I did – and I will share my experience in this review.
Let's get started, shall we?
Original publication: 28th of August 2022. Last updated: 9th of September 2023.
Table of Contents
Who is Vodafone Netherlands?
I am pretty sure anyone reading this review has heard of Vodafone before.
Or its African counterpart called Vodacom.
But I will not give you a detailed history of Vodafone because that is boring.
Instead, I want to quickly introduce Vodafone Netherlands and introduce you to the Spanish telecom market.
Vodafone Netherlands, officially Vodafone Nederland, is the smallest mobile operator in the country, behind T-Mobile Netherlands and KPN.
You also have many Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), like Lycamobile Netherlands, but they are honestly not worth your time.
In the title of this review, I called Vodafone Netherlands faster than expected.
And you will find out why later.
But before you go get yourself a Vodafone Netherlands SIM card because it is fast, there are still some things to be aware of.
Let's talk about Vodafone Netherlands' coverage first, after these quick frequency details:
- 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
- 3G: N/A – shut down in February 2020
- 4G/LTE: 700 MHz (Band 28), 800 MHz (Band 20), 1500 MHz (Band 32), 1800 MHz (Band 3), 2100 MHz (Band 1) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)
- 5G NR: 1800 MHz (n3) – not for prepaid… yet
- VoLTE: Yes (but not for prepaid)
- VoWiFi: Yes
Here you have Vodafone Netherlands' APN settings:
- Name: Vodafone NL
- APN: live.vodafone.com
- Username: vodafone
- Password: vodafone
Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.
Vodafone Netherlands Coverage + My Experience
How to Get a Vodafone Netherlands SIM Card & Prices
Vodafone Netherlands Plans, Bundles & Offers
Vodafone Netherlands has three data-featured prepaid plans:
- Special Bundles (combo)
- Unlimited Internet Bundles
- Data Bundles
Disclaimer: these were the available plans at the time I was in the Netherlands – the offering may have changed since then (including whether 5G NR is available to prepaid customers or not). To see Vodafone Netherlands' current plans, check out my the Netherlands SIM card buying guide (which gets updated regularly – at least once a year).
I will list all the prices in EUR (Euro).
To convert EUR to your currency (let's say GBP – (British) Pound (Sterling)) with up-to-date exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.
Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in.
The Special Bundles are combo plans with data (without 5G NR access), minutes & SMS.
Text the Activation Code to 4000 to activate Special Bundels:
|Price||Data||EU/EEA Data||Local/EU Minutes 1||Local/EU SMS 1||Validity||Activation Code|
|3 EUR||2 GB||Shared with data allowance||100 minutes||Shared with call allowance||Until midnight||DAG|
|7 EUR||10 GB||1.4 GB||100 minutes||Shared with call allowance||7 days||WEEK|
1 for calls/SMS within and to other EU/EEA member states and back to the Netherlands (NOT from the Netherlands to other EU/EEA member states)
Unlimited Internet Bundles
The Unlimited Data Bundles are, as the name suggests, unlimited data plans (without 5G NR access).
Text the Activation Code to 4000 to activate Unlimited Data Bundles:
|4 EUR||Unlimited||1 day||Unl 1 dag|
|9 EUR||Unlimited||3 days||Unl 3 day|
|14 EUR||Unlimited||7 days||Unl 1 week|
The Data Bundles, also referred to as Monthly Bundles, are, as the name implies, data plans (without 5G NR access).
Text the Activation Code to 4000 to activate Data Bundles:
|5 EUR||500 MB||1 month||500MB MAAND|
|9 EUR||2 GB||1 month||2GB MAAND|
|14 EUR||4 GB||1 month||4GB MAAND|
|19 EUR||6 GB||1 month||6GB MAAND|
|29 EUR||10 GB||1 month||10GB MAAND|
You can use your Vodafone Netherlands allowances in the following EU/EEA member states without paying roaming fees:
- Czech Republic
- Saint Martin
- San Marino
- United Kingdom
- Vatican City
Be aware that, in some cases, the EU/EEA roaming allowance is lower than the domestic allowances.
T-Mobile Netherlands Top-Up, Recharge & Balance Check
Vodafone Netherlands top-up vouchers are sold in Vodafone stores, grocery stores, corner shops & electronics shops throughout the Netherlands.
I did not have to recharge my Vodafone Netherlands SIM card because the Netherlands was a short stop on my one-month Europe trip (even though I lived in the country back then 🗿).
But I will still let you know about topping up your Vodafone Netherlands SIM card.
To top up your Vodafone Netherlands SIM card, you would dial *102*VoucherCode# or call 1200 and follow the instructions.
For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *102*123456#.
You can also recharge online with (international) debit and credit cards.
Text STATUS to 4000 or call 1200 to check your Vodafone Netherlands balance.
Vodafone Netherlands Speed Test Results (in Amsterdam, Breda, Dordrecht, Eindhoven & Rotterdam)
Alright, now it is time to talk about the speeds you can expect with Vodafone Netherlands after covering all the other essential topics like coverage.
But before I share my eight speed test results from Amsterdam, Breda, Dordrecht, Eindhoven & Rotterdam, I do want to set the stage first and make a small comparison with Vodafone Netherlands' competition.
Vodafone Netherlands is regarded by Speedtest as the slowest mobile operator in the Netherlands in Q1-Q2 of 2022.
With a median download speed of 81.5 Mbps, behind T-Mobile Netherlands (116.31 Mbps) and KPN (122.05 Mbps).
When we look at 5G NR, Vodafone Netherlands is also the slowest, with a median download speed of 101.93 Mbps.
This is behind T-Mobile Netherlands (159.25 Mbps) and far behind KPN (191.51 Mbps).
Unfortunately, 5G NR is not available to prepaid customers (yet).
Well… I say yet – it will not be for a long time; it took the mobile operators ages before letting prepaid customers use 4G/LTE.
So do not hold your breath for 5G NR – you will not survive 💀.
I did eight speed tests with the Speedtest app at various locations throughout the Netherlands.
Here are the results:
Those speeds are surprisingly fast for the slowest… right?
You would be surprised to find out that I had the fastest median download speeds with Vodafone Netherlands compared to its competitors, including the travel eSIMs I tested!
The results in green represent that that result was the fastest download or upload speed of all the Dutch mobile operators (T-Mobile Netherlands and Vodafone Netherlands).
What about KPN? KPN throttles prepaid speeds to 25 Mbps – and it makes sure you do not get faster speeds. I tested it at multiple locations, and I never got a result faster than 25 Mbps… so there is no point in including it in this comparison.
The results in red are the opposite; they are the slowest of them all.
And the results in bold tell you the mobile operator was the fastest with all the SIM cards and eSIMs I tested in the Netherlands (so the two SIM cards, the SimCorner Europe travel SIM card & Airalo Europe Eurolink eSIM).
Like I said – Vodafone Netherlands performed much better than expected – significantly faster than T-Mobile Netherlands… even though that one is supposed to be (way) faster.
Anyway, let's deal with some T-Mobile Netherlands statistics based on the eight speed test results:
- Vodafone Netherlands' average download speed was 103.31 Mbps
- The median download speed with Vodafone Netherlands was 113.36 Mbps
- Vodafone Netherlands' average upload speed was 16.76 Mbps
- The median upload speed with Vodafone Netherlands was 13.03 Mbps
- Vodafone Netherlands had the fastest download speed, compared to T-Mobile Netherlands, in 7 of the 8 locations
- Vodafone Netherlands had the slowest download speed, compared to T-Mobile Netherlands, in 1 of the 8 locations
- At 3 of the 8 locations, Vodafone Netherlands had the fastest upload speed
- At 5 of the 8 locations, Vodafone Netherlands had the slowest upload speed
As you can see, Vodafone Netherlands still has to improve its upload speeds, but they are fine for now.
So, is an average download speed of 103.31 Mbps fast enough?
I am not even sure why I am asking this question – of course it is 🤩!
But still – let me elaborate.
A download speed of more than 25 Mbps is enough to video stream content @ 4k resolution.
And I got an average download speed of 59.39 Mbps.
Social media sites that allow for live streaming, like Facebook Live, recommend an upload speed of at least 10 Mbps.
And I got an average upload speed of 16.76 Mbps – more than enough.
So, in short, these speed test results would be more than enough for watching videos at a high resolution and for uploading content like live streams.
But let's take these results to a global level – Vodafone Netherlands is doing great.
At the time of writing, the global average download speed is 75.78 Mbps – Vodafone Netherlands is (far) above this average.
But the average is skewed because of countries like the United Arab Emirates, with an average mobile download speed of 260.72 Mbps (insane!).
So let's look at the global median – 30.78 Mbps. Vodafone Netherlands' median download speed was 113.36 Mbps.
Vodafone Netherland's median download speed more than triple the global mean – fantastic!
Then again, many countries have yet to roll out 5G NR… but that is why we looked at the median too instead of only the average.
Overall, you should have a smooth network experience with Vodafone Netherlands.
But let's compare Vodafone Netherlands with the other SIM cards and eSIMs I used there so that you can fully understand my surprise (all on 4G/LTE):
What is funny, or sad honestly, is that the Airalo Netherlands Hè Hè eSIM is cheaper than Vodafone Netherlands (+T-Mobile Netherlands & KPN) because the Dutch mobile operators charge too much for prepaid.
Surprisingly, or luckily I have to say, postpaid plans are affordable.
I still have an unlimited data plan with KPN, costing me about 25.50 EUR a month.
Airalo will give you 10 GB of data for around the same price. KPN and T-Mobile Netherlands will hand you only 4 GB. For a bit more (29 EUR), Vodafone Netherlands will be generous and give you 10 GB (still more expensive than Airalo).
Yeah, data-featured plans for prepaid customers are not cheap 🥲.
My Overall Experience with T-Mobile Netherlands – Is It Any Good?
I would recommend Vodafone Netherlands, although it may not be my first recommendation for Dutch SIM cards (or travel eSIMs).
Dutch SIM Card Reviews
As mentioned earlier, I also tried out T-Mobile Netherlands and KPN when I was in the Netherlands.
You should read those reviews too.
Later, I will make a comparison post of the three Dutch SIM cards I tried… but that will take a while (I have many reviews of other countries that I still need to write, so they are prioritized).
But you can still make an educated purchased after reading the Dutch SIM card reviews.
Check out my reviews page if you want to read all the other reviews I have written, including other European SIM cards from this trip.
Netherlands SIM Card Buying Guide
There are more than ten SIM cards to choose from in the Netherlands besides Vodafone Netherlands.
I analyze and discuss them in-depth in my Netherlands SIM card buying guide.
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