Wednesday, 05 January 2011 14:21

Vodafone's network improvements as 9000 register for class-action


As around 9000 people have registered to express their interest in the Piper Alderman class action against Vodafone, the beleaguered telco says is it 'building greater reliability and capacity into the Vodafone network', and that it is 'our highest priority and our biggest investment.'

Although Vodafone announced plans that it was dramatically expanding its network capabilities some time ago in 2010, Vodafone's network inefficiencies and presumably the popularity of its attractively priced plans for voice and data have combined to deliver what many perceive to be an overloaded network that simply isn't delivering.

Problems with dropped calls and slow bandwidth, whether seeing full bars of signal strength or not, led to Vodafone customer Adam Brimo creating the site - our previous story on Vodafone and Vodafail has those details.

While Mr Brimo has now been released from his Vodafone contract, the Vodafail site piqued the interest of law firm Piper Alderman, and as discussed in the story linked above, started getting signs of interest from affected Vodafone (and 3 Mobile) customers keen to get some compensation or to see action from Vodafone in actually fixing the problems.

The Vodafone section of Piper Alderman's site has posted an update, dated today (5th Jan 2011), which thanks 'Thank you to all of you who have registered your interest in the class action. To date, approximately 9,000 Vodafone customers have registered their interest.'

Piper Alderman says that 'In the next five to ten business days, we will be sending group members a request for further information relating to their specific circumstances. Upon receipt of this information, we will process it and take the matter forward.'

After this comes a series of 'frequently asked questions' that help those interested in registering to properly identify their issues to Piper Alderman so as to get a better response and outcome should any class action actually end up proceeding and having a better chance of succeeding.

Vodafone's blog entry and update on page two, please read on!

Meanwhile, Vodafone has issued an update to its current and prospective customers on the status of its network and the upgrades that are underway.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia's Director of 'Customer Service and Experience', Cormac Hodgkinson has noted in a blog entry that: 'To keep you informed about specific areas where major improvements are being made to the Vodafone network, we will be publishing details here.

'Our network improvement plans will see us upgrade or build more than 2,500 base stations during 2011, and we'll be providing you with regular updates of what's happening in your area. The first of these is for the first 3 months of this year.

'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. 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).'

Mr Hodgkinson's blog says that Vodafone's site lets you look up details about 'new sites and upgrades in your area', where you can 'see specific sites by postcode' and also see 'if there are any current issues that might be happening in the network in the same section.'

In a section entitled 'How we are addressing immediate network concerns', Mr Hodgkinson says that: 'A number of task force teams are working to continue to resolve the current network issues which have been affecting some customers and we are monitoring and testing the network 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 blog entry gives details on how to contact Vodafone's customer service people if you are experiencing issues, and closes with the announcement that: 'Improving your experience is critical and we are working hard to make sure your experience of Vodafone is the right one. We appreciate your patience. Network performance is improving and we're confident that things will only get better as we continue to roll out extra capacity across our network, throughout 2011.'

So'¦ there's genuine hope that Vodafone's issues are being urgently worked on and that the network is being genuinely upgraded, although it may still take some time before you see the improvements depending on where you are and what schedule you area is on for new sites and network upgrades.

If you're on Vodafone or 3 Mobile and are experiencing issues, we wish you the best of luck in getting them resolved ASAP.



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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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