Vodafone is the big red daddy of mobile-phone networks, catering to 25 per cent of the UK market. That makes it the go-to network for many businesses, which like to have a reliable behemoth taking care of them.
But this fact also makes the network seem less keen to grab new customers than upstarts such as Three. That means it's not always the cheapest operator, so it's worth comparing deals.
On the plus side, Vodafone offers an excellent range of phones, including frequent exclusives scored from various manufacturers. See below for our pick of the best.
Because it's so huge, Vodafone tends to be reliable for good, solid network coverage around the UK. But, before committing, you should check for black holes in your area using the coverage checker.
If you struggle to get a Vodafone signal inside your house, and you don't want to switch networks, you can invest even more cash in a Sure Signal femtocell. This box plugs into your home Internet connection and creates a 3G bubble for your phone to use. It works but we're not big fans -- not only does the box cost £50, but you're also responsible for the cost and upkeep of the Internet connection that makes it work.
If you plan on using plenty of data -- a sure bet if you choose an Android smart phone or an iPhone -- watch out for Vodafone's data caps. It axed its data allowance to a mere 500MB in 2010. Even worse is that it will charge you a fiver as soon as you go over, without any warning.
When it comes to customer service, Vodafone needs to work harder. A customer satisfaction survey by Which? magazine ranked the network around the middle of the pack for keeping contract and pay as you go customers happy.
Vodafone does better in Ofcom's data, though. According to Ofcom, Vodafone has the lowest number of customer complaints of all networks, except for O2.