We’ll fix the network, promises Vodafone


Mobile telco VHA has pledged to implement a series of rolling upgrades this year to the network of its troubled Vodafone brand, following a series of outages and problems in 2010 that bought the company a tsunami of customer complaints.

On its Vodafone blog yesterday, the company’s director of customer service and experience, Cormac Hodgkinson, said building greater reliability and capacity into its network was its “highest priority” and its “biggest investment”. The telco is planning to upgrade or build more than 2,500 mobile base stations throughout 2011, according to Hodgkinson. However, only a small percentage of those upgrades will occur in the immediate term.

“Between January and March, we will be adding new sites or upgrading existing sites in both our 850MHz network and our 2100MHz network, within metro areas – in total approximately 141 sites,” the executive said. Improvements will focus on areas where there is either high traffic, which will help with the performance of data traffic on Vodafone’s network, or in areas where coverage is a priority.

VHA was already known to be conducting a massive network expansion effort.

In late October last year — before many of its problems hit the public eye — the company had unveiled a giant expansion of its mobile networks, including revealing the construction of a new network using the same 850MHz spectrum which Telstra has popularised with its Next G network. At that point, the company said it was planning to build 1,400 new sites on its existing 2100MHz network, 1,500 new sites on the 850Mhz network and some 500 new other regional sites.

VHA was also planning to integrate improvements in the transmission network which brings capacity to the base stations — enabling network infrastructure for the Internet Protocol, as well as continuing to roll out fibre infrastructure to tower sites. And trials of the LTE standard — which will allow significant improvements in download speeds — are also under way.

Not all of Vodafone’s network problems were related to a lack of capacity, however — some could be laid at the door of problematic software. It remains unclear to what extent the company has rectified such issues in its network.

On its blog, Hodgkinson said a number of “task force teams” were working to “continue to resolve” the current network issues affecting customers, and the network was being tested across the country to evaluate its performance. “While signs are encouraging, there are some customers who may not be experiencing these benefits as yet, and we will continue our program of work to ensure that customers see improvements over time.”

The telco encouraged customers with problems to check its network status page or contact its customer care team.

Image credit: VHA


  1. About 4 or 5 years ago. Vodafone had some obscure press conference that I saw on the news. The new CEO or COO (doesn’t matter now) said “we’re gonna double our revenue and halve our costs!”…. I immediately dumped Vodafone because it translates as “we’re gonna screw customers and reduce service quality!”.

    If anyone can find the quote in print or video, post it here. I distinctly remember it.

    Looks like their strategy is now paying the dividends they deserve…

    Don’t Risk it!

    • Vodafone’s network has always been threadbare and I suspect it will continue to remain that way.

      The Australian operation is probably very damaging to the Vodafone global brand.

  2. I switched many years ago from Optus to Vodafone and found virtually no differences in reception, but I got considerably better customer service.

    I’ve recently switched from Vodafone to 3 (same company now, but still different networks). What a terrible decision that’s been.

    Coverage is appauling, even in inner Melbourne suburbs. The call centre is an absolute joke, every time I’ve called I’ve been on hold at least 20 minutes, and frequently more than 40. Hell right now I’m watching the clock tick over the 39 minute mark so I can complain about the constant call dropouts and hopefully get out of this contract after less than 4 months.

    The service is not what I signed up for.

  3. We got absolutely skun by these people. They misrerpresented their product, its performance and their long term intentions for improvement. We fired them and went to the best provider in Australia – by far. We were receiving 40 to 50 network complaints from our staff, every week. For 3 months we’ve not had one complaint with our new carrier. Not One!
    We will join this action and we certainly have everything documented right down to all the customer communications that were just terminated by drop outs as well as all their correspondence to us that was just plain junk.
    Reading some of this article is just so familiar. Its the same old crap we were fed for a couple of years. Sorry guys, time’s up.
    How Hawko could put her name to this mob is a mystery, but there again, she has probably falllen for the golden dollar.

  4. Whole article smells of damage control to me.
    Talk is cheap, actually doing the work and fixing the issues thats another thing completely, and the past has shown Vodafone is all talk no action

  5. two months ago I got a contract with Crazy Johns with is a subsidiary of Vodafone and use their network. This is a move from Telstra and I was chocked how the coverage in Sydney is! heck even at home were Telstra had always full bars now the new phone more often than not does not have a 3G connection at all! the worse network I have not had the pleasure to use.

    Such heavy advertising of their services, knowing that their network can’t keep up.

    I don’t think it is their fault, government allows them to operate such a rubbish network, allows them to sell what they can not offer. I have yet to hear a word from Conroy and his office on how they will ban them from selling any new lines until they fix their issues and performance.

    Vodafone gets a fail here and the government and regulator gets a fail too….

  6. Got sick of failed and dropped calls, slow data speed and voicemail that doesn’t work and switched to the big T. Haven’t looked back. Fantastic reception, calls always go through, data is quick. On contract the price is the same as Vodafail was on month to month cap! It’s a no brainer.

  7. I’m on the network right now tethering 3G to my laptop, and it has constantly failed. I try to call them, I go through the whole process of identifying the error only to get a dial tone and then a message saying: “we’re having a technical difficulty, please hang up”. WTF! They also said they would call me in 24hrs to fix a network issue I was having, hasn’t happened.

  8. Wow, talk about a bunch of whingers!

    There are coverage and customer service problems with all the major telco’s.

    But no need to lose sleep over it!

  9. lol it makes me wonder when someone calls people that expect good and relibable service and then complain when they don’t get it whingers.. hopefully you don’t apply that same standards to your work and personal life.

    The rule is, if you pay for something you expect it to work as advertised. funnily enough, we have rules about that, governments the world over must be whingers too. Only thing, is some governments deal better with such rubbish and penalise companies when they fail to do what they make people pay for. Oz isn’t one of them.

    As for you, either you don’t care about money, have waaaay too much of it, don’t work hard for it or simply don’t spend your own, but use others….

  10. I agree with you Geo…I’m paying $100/mo for absolutely unusable services!

    Had to pull all adverts with my number for my business as it is unreachable (no voicemail, just says “number disconnected”!!!!). Undelivered and unreceived SMS, 3G unusable (Google news takes 5 mins + to load ffs)

    I can’t afford to have another number running while I wait for my dispute with voda to be resolved, and can’t afford to run another ad campaign on a temporary number.

    I have complained to the ombudsman as I cannot hold a line long enough with voda to complain, but the dispute may take up to a month.

    Keep in mind I am losing business by the day, which means less money for me.

    So me paying voda = no service and loss of business. Or should I just stop complaining and keep forking out cash to be buttf***ked every month by vodafone?

    Glad I decided to do something about it at least instead of not whining and paying another fistful of cash to have the problem disappear at vodafones leisure.

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