It felt like déjà vu on Sunday night when Vodafone suffered a network outage that affected its mobile services nationwide. Customers experienced problems with data, texts and calls for seven hours, harkening back to the telco's 'Vodafail' days. Vodafone is now doing damage control by giving every mobile customer 2GB of bonus data. Here are the details.
On Sunday, September 25, the Vodafone network went down at around 6.30pm (AEST) which impacted users across Australia. A large number of customers were reporting that they were unable to use mobile data and couldn't make or receive calls and texts. Vodafone acknowledged that the 4G network went down due to a router malfunction and fully restored the services seven hours later at 1.35pm (AEST) on Monday, September 26. By then, the #Vodafail hashtag had already been trending on Twitter.
Yesterday night, Vodafone announced that all customers will be getting 2GB of bonus data.
- Postpaid customers will get it during their October or November billing cycle and it will be valid for that billing month.
- Prepaid customers who recharge after a date (to be determined) in October will get the one-off 2GB that is valid for the length of the recharge. The offer will be valid for 30 days from the date.
According to Vodafone:
"2GB is more than 50 per cent of the average monthly data use for Vodafone customers and this bonus offer will allow all customers to stream, surf and download more of what they love, on us. "We apologise sincerely for this disruption and we hope 2GB of data will allow our customers to enjoy more of the Vodafone network."
Vodafone said it will be in touch with customers to provide more details of the bonus data offer.
Earlier this year, Telstra suffered a number of mobile network outages and ended up giving customers free data days to make up for them. On the first free data day, customers churned through 1841 terabytes of data. Vodafone probably won't be able to afford giving customers unlimited free mobile data for one day.
Back in 2009, Vodafone's mobile network was known to be dreadful; users reported regular network issues including call dropouts, slow data speeds and poor coverage, which was exacerbated by bad customer service. This prompted one customer, Adam Brimo, to set up Vodafail.com in 2010 which called out Vodafone's failures in maintaining its network and handling complaints. The term 'Vodafail' was popularised, the telco saw a mass customer exodus and its revenues plummeted. The company was on the verge of collapse.
Vodafone spent the next few years reinventing itself, desperately trying to put its Vodafail days behind it. The company poured money into network upgrades, improved on customer service and released competitive mobile plans to win back users. The effort has paid off and last year it posted its first revenue growth since 2010.
Has this latest outage changed your opinions about Vodafone? Do you think giving out 2GB of bonus data is enough to appease angry customers? Let us know in the comments.