Vodafone unveils new sub-brand VOXI targeting under-25s

James Pearce
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VOXI by Vodafone will include zero-rated social media access, SIM-only 4G contracts, and operate on Vodafone's UK network

Vodafone has launched a new UK brand, VOXI, targeting customers aged under-25 with a number of zero-rated products included.

The mobile operator says the VOXI brand, which will go live on 8 September, will allow customers to use selected social and chat apps without using their data allowance.

Packages will include unlimited calls and texts, with no contract. The 30-day plans will include 4G connectivity, costing £10 for 2GB; £15 for 5GB; and £20 for 15GB.

Customers with data left on their plan will have unlimited use of apps including Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, and Viber, although these apps could be subject to change. This is only applicable inside Vodafone’s Europe Zone of countries – made up of 50 countries, including non-EU countries such as Turkey and Switzerland. Anywhere else, standard rates apply.

Voxi will be led by ‎segment marketing manager Dan Lambrou, who becomes head of VOXI. He told GTB that Vodafone is currently under-represented across the youth market, one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK, and that was one of the key reasons behind launching VOXI, which comes from the Latin for voice (Vox) and me (I).

Lambrou said: “Why should young people make do with the same mobile plans as everyone else, when they use their phones differently and often can’t access the best deals? We’ve worked with hundreds of people aged 25 and under, and have really listened to them. They are a generation that’s tired of being stereotyped and talked at. We created VOXI, a transparent new mobile service that gives our audience a platform to connect to the things that matter to them, whatever they’re into.”

VOXI will operate out of Vodafone stores and call centres, with a team of around 25 people dedicated to the brand. The team will operate out of Vodafone’s London office.

One concern with any zero-rated data plans is around regulation. Last year, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) introduced new rules around net neutrality, which outlined the circumstances in which zero-rating would not be allowed.

Voxi will be led by ‎segment marketing manager Dan Lambrou, who becomes head of VOXI. Lambrou told Capacity that Vodafone had worked closely with regulatory experts to make sure its zero-rated offer is compliant with relevant net neutrality regulations.

“We’ve worked very closely with our regulatory team and we are fully compliant with BEREC and net neutrality both in terms of the non-discriminatory nature of the social and chat category – it’s an open sign up process, so any partner who meets our criteria can sign up. So we expect that to grow over time, and there is no cost for that.

“We are applying differential pricing to a category but it is not restricting access to any other service, so long as our customers have data.”

VOXI will run entirely on Vodafone’s UK mobile network, although Lambrou said it had developed technology to support the zero-rated products.

Nick Jeffery, CEO of Vodafone UK, said: “Vodafone has been working hard to understand the specific needs of our customers. We know today’s young generation use their phones in a completely different way, with social media at the very centre of their lives. 

“They want services that put their needs first. VOXI gives young people just that: access to the content and channels they love, simple and cost-effective price plans, and a mobile network they can count on."