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Vodafone PAYG goes 4G, tempts you with unlimited data

Vodafone's pay-as-you-go customers can now enjoy speedy 4G, with discounts on 4G phones thrown in too.

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Vodafone's Smart 4 Power is now available at a discount when you buy it with 4G on pay as you go. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

PAYG has gone 4G at Vodafone. The UK network is now offering extra-fast data to pay-as-you-go customers, complete with unlimited data for the first month.

A Vodafone's 4G deal is called a Freedom Freebee. They start at £20 for 2GB of data, with 500 minutes of calls and unlimited texts to UK numbers. 4GB costs £30 and 6GB costs £40, both with unlimited calls and unlimited texts.

When you first opt for 4G, you get unlimited data for the first month to give yourself an idea of how much data you use and opt for the right deal from then on. Bear in mind that 4G speeds burn through data faster: pay monthly customers on Vodafone's 4G plans use on average around three times more data than 3G customers.

Vodafone and O2 launched their 4G networks pretty much exactly a year ago, but they were already a year behind EE, the UK's first 4G network. Thanks to that huge head start, EE has the widest coverage -- over 200 towns and cities to date -- so rivals have to offer something else to tempt customers.

Three, for example, doesn't charge for 4G, while Vodafone offers free subscriptions to Sky Sports Mobile TV, Spotify Premium or Netflix to sweeten the deal. Those extras are available to PAYG customers opting for the £30 and £40 Freebee deals.

You do need a 4G-compatible LTE phone to enjoy 4G speed. High-end phones like the iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S5 are routinely 4G, but you don't have to break the bank to go 4G thanks to more affordable phones like the Nokia Lumia 635 .

Vodafone is offering a discount on its own-brand Smart 4 Turbo 4G phone, charging £79 when you buy it with a Freedom Freebee. The Vodafone Smart 4 Power also drops in price to £120, but we didn't think much of either phone when we reviewed them.

PAYG customers can, like contract customers, enjoy 4G speeds abroad with roaming deals.

4G will also be available to anyone with a pay-as-you-go mobile broadband dongle, starting from £15 for 2GB data.