Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) faces more embarrassment over alleged poor network and customer service after a report detailing the telco’s shortcomings was tendered to Australian communication and consumer watchdogs.
Vodafail.com, a website by Adam Brimo established to detail Vodafone’s alleged network reception and customer service failures, has submitted a report to the ACCC and ACMA titled Vodafone’s situation: Yesterday, today and tomorrow. The report was compiled with sources from news articles, public company information as well as experiences from 12,000 VHA customers, according to Vodafail.com.
Vodafone merged with Hutchinson, parent company of 3 Mobiles, in 2009. The customer bases of both companies were combined with VHA now responsible for more than 7.43 million customers.
Since the merger, VHA has supercharged efforts to bolster customer number growth, bringing out price competitive plans with the most recent one being its Infinite plan which offers unlimited standard calls for $49 per month.
But the Vodafail report speculated the telco has bitten off more than it could chew as its Vodafone network infrastructure may be overstretched by the influx of new customers. With Hutchinson’s shared network agreement with Telstra drawing to a close, VHA has been moving customers away from 3’s 3GIS network. The company is in the process of merging the Vodafone and Hutchinson network.
While VHA has future plans to build new network sites to increase coverage, conditions of the current network remain vague. VHA had previously blamed a software upgrade was a contributor to the network dramas.
“Greater public disclosure around the capacity of individual towers is required to make a more informed judgement on the role customer growth has had on the poor performance of the network,” the report stated.
As for issues with customer service, lower staff morale as a result of the Vodafone Hutchinson merger was also cited as a possible cause.
Vodafail.com claimed “multiple anonymous former employees” have claimed the merger has resulted in decreased wages and commission for staff causing many employees to leave the VHA.
The Vodafail.com report demands more transparency and communication from VHA to its customers as well as options for unhappy users to terminate their contracts as a desirable course of action for the telco.
Consumer advocacy group, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) supported the work of Brimo’s Vodafail.com.
“Prior to Adam setting up Vodafail many customers thought they were alone in experiencing problems because Vodafone failed to let people know what was going on,” ACCAN director of policy and campaigns, Elissa Freeman, said in a statement.