Vodafone Respond To Network Criticism With Massive Network Upgrade

The recent Vodafail coverage that helps rival telco CEOs sleep well at night, might be finally coming to an end soon – that is, if their latest press statement has any bearing on actual network coverage.

The important part of the news is that Vodafone have agreed to a massive ‘rebuild’ of their ailing network, including $1 billion in investment money procured from the recent 3/Vodafone merger going towards the overall network refresh and 2500 sites to be built or upgraded over the course of this year.

While it’s hard to know where to point the finger exactly, the statement reveals that Vodafone place much of their recent service woes down to the “explosive growth in the popularity of smartphones and mobile broadband” in 2010. But wasn’t just your iPhone and Android smartphone getting in the way of progress. Michael Young, Chief Technology Officer at Vodafone Hutchison Australia had another explanation for the drop-outs: interference from neighbouring sites and unstable software.

“We also discovered that some of the new and upgraded sites were either resetting autonomously or interfering with other neighbouring sites – causing intermittent and immediate disruptions to voice and data traffic for some customers” – Michael Young.

In addition to confessing their recent sins, Vodafone hope to make amends by fast-tracking plans for a new 3G network (originally planned in October 2010) with 386 new sites already added and 1,500 additional sites planned for 2011. And in what may surprise some, the company have also been experimenting with better-than decent speeds across their 4G network. Those trials successfully saw speeds as high as 73Mbps – not too shabby when you consider the average 3G speed is but a fraction of that figure. But don’t get too excited: the real-world figure will be much lower than that in practice.

Still, when it comes to major Vodafone bugbears, much hate is directed at the Vodafone customer service centre – or lack of service to be blunt. Talk to any Vodafone customer and they’ll tell you exactly how excruciatingly difficult it is to get in contact with anybody when it really matters. To counter these complaints, Vodafone have also hired 300 extra customer service staff to assist with the load.

We’ll let Nigel Dews, Vodafone’s Aussie CEO have the final word on this:

“We’ve been working hard to improve our network and service but still have work to do. We have a very clear picture of what needs to be done and it’s already well underway. Our plans have been accelerated and we have the teams and resources in place and the right focus to deliver for our customers.”

If you’re one of the many Vodafone customers left out in the cold, let us know in the comments section below.