“Coverage and customer experience improvements are well advanced and investment in the network remains our highest priority,” said Michael Young, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone Hutchison Australia. “After accelerating network improvement plans earlier this year, we are now over half way through our new network site build, and customers are starting to experience the impact, particularly when it comes to smartphone and mobile broadband performance.”
In February, Vodafone announced plans to accelerate network improvements, including building a new 850MHz network, upgrading its current 3G network and adding new sites to improve coverage and capacity. Performance, reliability and coverage have improved all considerably since January including an 18% improvement in dropped calls and a 66% increase in data reliability.
By the end of the year an additional 520 sites will have been upgraded and 500 network sites added across the country to improve coverage, signal strength, and overall network quality.
“A great deal of work is being put into improving network performance, but what’s most important is what our customers are experiencing. While we still have more to do, we have seen a significant reduction in customer calls about network issues,” said Cormac Hodgkinson, Director of Customer Service and Experience, Vodafone Hutchison Australia.
In April, Vodafone also embarked on a project to replace network equipment and install the latest, state of the art Huawei equipment at all network sites across Australia, to increase reliability and overall network quality. In the 49 sites completed in the Newcastle / Hunter and Central Coast region, all network reliability measures improved significantly.
“The 49 sites where we have replaced equipment with new technology are leading the way in terms of our site performance, and customer satisfaction has risen in that area,” said Hodgkinson.
The equipment replacement program will now occur concurrently around the country in each state with Canberra and Perth being the first metropolitan areas to be completed in the coming months.
Establishing new ways to deliver a better experience for customers has also been a key focus over the last few months. Vodafone recently introduced a new coverage checker tool for customers to get an in-depth view of indoor and outdoor mobile coverage in and around their areas. Customers simply enter the postcode of the location they want to check, and within seconds they’ll be able to see Vodafone’s coverage on a street-by-street view.
“We are also building a number of smart tools into the network which will allow us to be able to look at each individual customers experience, so we can spot any problems, fix them quicker and make sure we are tuning and upgrading the network where our customers most need it,” Hodgkinson added.
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Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) operates the Vodafone, 3, and Crazy Johns brands. Formed in June 2009 following a merger between Vodafone Australia and Hutchison 3G Australia, VHA provides mobile services to over 7.57 million customers in Australia. http://www.three.com.au & http://www.vodafone.com.au