Thursday, August 11, 2011

Vodafone's Australian 4G Network?

Last night I was talking to a friend who was telling me about a frustrating conversation he had with Vodafone’s telephone “we want to book an appointment for a sales rep” team.

They rang up and told him that Vodafone had completed their rollout of their 850MHz network and now there was no difference between their network and Telstra’s.

Sadly for the ill trained headset jockey on the other end of the line, he keeps up to date with this stuff. So he explained to her that Vodafone hadn’t completed the rollout of their network and it wasn’t due for completion until late 2011 or early 2012 according to Vodafone’s own announcements.

After she argued with him about this for a while she finally acknowledged that this was the case and she was aware of this fact.

Now he told her that since Telstra was commencing the rollout of their 4G LTE network in late August that it would make sense to wait and see what network performance would be before making a decision about looking at carriers. His business is a big consumer of mobile data and demand for higher speeds with reliability is growing.

Without waiting to take a breath the Vodafone operator came back and said “Telstra doesn’t have a 4G network and will not be launching one before the end of August.”

Obviously Vodafone spends a lot of time training their staff and keeping them up to date with the reality of their competitors network offerings.

She was so adamant that she queried with her supervisor who was as ignorant as she was.

In the end he had to give them a couple of links to articles about Telstra’s 4G LTE rollout so they could look them up on the Internet for themselves.

The headset jockey cleared the call and he thought that was the end of that…oh no…

A few minutes later the same person called back to say that Vodafone had the same product and had it in the Australian market for months. “Its called a Femto”, she said.

He was astounded. So was I. I’m certain that if Vodafone had rolled out a 4G LTE network before Telstra the whole country would have known about it.

She also told him that Vodafone had rolled out a 4G network months earlier - only after a lot of questions did she finally admit it was in Germany. Like that’s really going to help an Australian company.

Turns out this thing they had in Australia was not 4G it was a Femtocell which she claimed “tripled your speed by grabbing more signal because of its multiple radios, but its the same thing”.

In the end he hung up, sick of hearing half-truths and marketing spin as a way of getting a sales rep in the door.

If this is how Vodafone plan on getting their lost 375,000 subscribers back they may as well shut the doors and turn off the lights now.

This company is looking more and more like One-Tel everyday.

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