Do this first when your Vodacom cellphone contract is due for an upgrade

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Your Vodacom contract is nearing its end and you’re excited about getting a brand-spanking-new cell phone when you upgrade your contract. You saw the new iPhone 13 or Samsung Galaxy S22 smartphone and wouldn’t mind getting one of those.

And one thing we do know is that Vodacom would like to keep you as a contract customer rather than a prepaid customer. You, the contract customer, are a dime a dozen and must be looked after with a bit more care. Vodacom has therefore laid out new and shiny phones for you to upgrade to if you will be extending your contract when the initial 24/36 month period is over.

Vodacom contract upgrade and eligibility.
Vodacom contract upgrade and eligibility.

When your contract is due for an upgrade you might have already made up your mind about what happens next with the contract: you want to migrate your current price plan to a more suitable one, or upgrade and get the best phone you can while paying near the same amount with your current price plan.

If you will be upgrading, go through the below points to help you get the best out of your new contract:

What does your Vodacom contract say about upgrades?

Vodacom has uploaded its terms and conditions onto its website for easy access. They have explained a few important points for us when looking to renew.

What is a contract upgrade?

It is you starting a new agreement with Vodacom and adding another 24/36 months to your current contract, and with the new contract, you may receive a new device with the upgrade according to the contract type.

When can you upgrade your Vodacom contract?

In month 22 of a 24-month contract, or month 34 of a 36-month contract. Vodacom may decide to upgrade you earlier as well.

What happens if you don’t upgrade or cancel?

The contract automatically goes to a month-to-month contract at the end of the agreed period until you upgrade or cancel the contract. You may also face penalties if you don’t upgrade, such as the removal of any discounts you received during the initial period of your contract.

Check if you’re eligible for an upgrade

The best and quickest way to find out if you’re due for an upgrade using Vodacom’s services is to go online and use their upgrade portal. The USSD code to check for an upgrade is 31050, but it just says you should upgrade online and does not check your upgrade status for you.

It is best to use Vodacom’s upgrade portal for this, as the below example:

Vodacom Upgrade online portal. Screenshot: Vodacom.co.za
Screenshot: Vodacom Upgrade online portal. Source: Vodacom.co.za
Vodacom Upgrade online portal. Screenshot: Vodacom.co.za
Screenshot: Vodacom Upgrade online portal. Source: Vodacom.co.za
Vodacom Upgrade online portal. Screenshot: Vodacom.co.za
Screenshot: Vodacom Upgrade online portal. Source: Vodacom.co.za

Find your upgrade due and contract expiry date

When you receive an upgrade notice by SMS or perhaps a call from a Vodacom representative advising that an upgrade is available, start to finalize your plans for the contract before its period expires.

It may seem prudent to not upgrade your account while continuing to enjoy the contract benefits, but you may be losing any discounts applied on your account/price plan. This is according to the current general terms and conditions of the Vodacom contract, where after the initial period (the typical 24 or 36 months that your contract runs for) of the contract lapses but the contract is still in effect (you haven’t canceled, migrated or upgrade, etc.) you will be required to pay the full subscription amount of the price plan you’re on.

So, upgrade or lose your discounts.

How to find your upgrade due date:

  • Call Vodacom Customer Care on 135 or 082 135
  • Check your upgrade due date by texting the phrase “UG” to 31050 using the SIM card that is eligible for an upgrade

How to check your contract expiry date:

  • To check the expiry date of your Vodacom contract text the phrase “CTD” to 31050 using the SIM card that is eligible for an upgrade

This is the result we received:

 Upgrade due and contract expiry date. Screenshot: SMS from Vodacom
Upgrade due and contract expiry date. Screenshot: SMS from Vodacom

You’re also able to find the contract upgrade and expiry date using the My Vodacom app. You will need to log into your My Vodacom app.

  • Tap on “My Account”
  • Tap on “Upgrades”
  • Tap on the “Your Contract” button to view your contract details

See the below example for how we received our upgrade details:

Log into your account. Source: Screenshot My Vodacom App
Log into your account. Source: Screenshot My Vodacom App
Tap on "Your Contract" to view upgrade details. Source: Screenshot My Vodacom app
Tap on “Your Contract” to view upgrade details. Source: Screenshot My Vodacom app

Do this first when you’re offered an upgrade

The image above (upgrade result) shows that I’m currently eligible for an upgrade even though my official upgrade date is a few weeks ahead.

Check your price plan

Before you start your search for a new device you will want to be certain of your current price plan. This essentially is the actual plan that you are upgrading, meaning you will be offered the same amounts under this price plan. The price plan has the benefits, the number of SMSs you get per month, and the amount of data you receive.

How to find your current Vodacom price plan

  • Dial *135# from your Vodacom device
  • Reply with option 10, “Next”, to see the next batch of options
  • Select option 3 “Services” from the menu
  • Select option 6 “My Price Plan” from the menu
  • You will be shown the name of your current price plan
*135# USSD Code. Screenshot: Vodacom price plan RED Flexi 390
*135# USSD Code. Screenshot: Vodacom price plan RED Flexi 390

Tick your financial boxes

Check your affordability, shop a little, and decide what is the best way for you to proceed. You may want to check if you’re still able to afford your current plan.

The National Credit Act requires that credit providers also check your affordability before affording credit to any debtor – and you should check your affordability yourself before going ahead with an extension of your Vodacom contract.

Credit providers must check your affordability before affording you credit. Image: National Credit Regulator.

Also, note that Vodacom can still lay claim to your new cellphone should you renege on your agreement. (NB: The author was not able to ascertain if this will be done again when you upgrade your contract.).

Get insured. Ensure you can cover your new cellphone for loss through your insurance.

Have the administration fee ready. An administrative fee of R150 for all upgrades done in the shop applies. But, Vodacom says you can upgrade for free online.

Getting an early upgrade

Vodacom may offer you an early upgrade, sometimes at the 20th month of your contract, based on its calculations of your profile. According to the terms and conditions of my contract, though, I am still paying off my device on the current contract, and that debt is still due to Vodacom.

If you’re offered an early upgrade check if your cellphone debt is still due or if it will be written off. This might be another negotiation point.

You may also ask for an early upgrade if your due date has not arrived, but you will pay a fee for this one.

Find upgrade specials and deals

Speak with a Vodacom representative.
Call Vodacom Upgrades on 082 17844 and speak with a representative who can help you find upgrade specials and deals. This might be easier than you going through pages and pages of specials and deals to find one that suits you.

When speaking to a Vodacom representative on the phone they will have a list of the most current cellphones/devices that you qualify for in your price range and current price plan.

You may also request that they give you details for that phone you’ve had your eye on. These initial offers they give you are at the most basic price points they have on offer. Vodacom is more flexible than that, and you’re able to negotiate better phones or rates with them.

Remember what we said in the beginning: Vodacom wants to keep you as a contract customer!

Check for upgrade deals online.
Some companies are contracted with Vodacom to sell upgrades, and they often have a more up-to-date catalogue of phones together with their price plan.
Visit shops like iStore and GAME. These shops, just like online stores, are also out on a contract with Vodacom with the ability to upgrade your phone. You will also just have to match your phone with the price plan you’re comfortable with.

Vodacom online-only deals.
Vodacom is promoting its online store and in a bid to draw customers online will oftentimes have online-only deals. You can browse through these options to find one that fits you.

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