Vodafone pledges to upgrade network reliability and capacity

Telco will upgrade or build more than 2,500 base stations during 2011

Vodafone has pledged to improve its network, announcing it will upgrade or build more than 2,500 base stations during 2011 in a bid to lift reliability and capacity.

Commenting in a company blog post, Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) director of customer service and experience, Cormac Hodgkinson, wrote that the new sites would be added and existing sites upgraded to the telco’s 850MHz network and its 2100MHz networks within metropolitan areas in the first quater of 2011.

“These improvements focus on areas where there is either high traffic where capacity is a priority (which will help with data performance) or in areas where coverage is a priority (which will help with general coverage),” the post reads.

In October the company flagged its intentions to move in on Telstra's Next G network, with plans to erect a total of 1500 base stations nationally for a new 850MHz network.

In an effort to address immediate network concerns the telco had formed a number of “task force teams” to resolve issues and monitor customer experiences.

“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 post reads.

The post follows two by the telco in December both dealing with issues of poor network experience.

In its [[xref: http://blog.vodafone.com.au/blog/news/trouble-shooting-for-the-web|December 30 post| the company sought to provide advice to customers on how they could resolve network performance issues.

On December 23 it acknowledged issues with 3G data performance and intermittent delays to voice and text services on its network; itself an update to an apology on network issues from no less than chief executive, Nigel Dews, on December 21.

Each post has been accompanies by a slew of posts by people claiming to be customers, and complaining of poor experiences on the network, and additionally, of poor customer service.

“You and your fellow execs REALLY need to understand the pain that Vodafone customers are feeling right now and, more importantly, how unbelievably difficult it is for your customers to complain. It is virtually impossible,” one post reads.

“Prior to rejoining vodafone i did not think it was possible to get a poorer standard of service than the 3 network, but Vodafone’s customer care and call centres are even worse. Their coverage is also rubbish.” Another post reads.

The posts will not come as news to the Australian Consumer Communications Action Network (ACCAN), which in November said one in two telco customers have experienced problems with their phone in the past year, with customer service, complaint handling and technical glitches topping the list of issues.

The Australian Communication and Media Authority’s (ACMA) is also on to the issue, recently travelling around the nation with its public inquiry into telco customer service.

Follow Tim Lohman on Twitter: @tlohman

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAu

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Tags wirelessVodafoneNetworkingcustomer service3gACMAvhaAustralian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA)Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN)

More about etworkHutchisonTelstra CorporationVHAVodafone

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