Telecomm services provider Vodafone UK is the third largest mobile network in the UK. It is subsidiary company of Vodafone Group, a multi-national telecommunications conglomerate.
Vodafone operates more than 480 retail stores across the UK. The company offers Home and Business landline and broadband services, mobile phone handsets, Vodafone mobile network subscription service contracts and SIM offers.
The loss of 400,000 subscribers from 2017 to 2018 has spurred the company to implement an image change.
Possible causes of the loss of subscribers are the company’s failure during the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017, where the system failed to operate causing victims of the attack to be unable to contact authorities and emergency services.
Another possible cause of the reduction in subscriptions is the weakness in its customer service systems. Vodafone UK has been perceived as the worst mobile network every year since 2012.
Recently, in an effort by Vodafone to improve subscriptions amongst the younger generation, the company introduced VOXI sim-only plans. This 2017 initiative offered those under 25 unlimited minutes, texts and endless data to social media sites and apps. The program was modified in 2018 to include people up to 30.
Another trust initiative of the company launched in 2017 to improve its customer service image was the ‘30-day Network Satisfaction’ program. This allowed new and upgrade customers that weren’t happy with the service or coverage to cancel and leave the network within the first 30 days of entering the contract.
At the same time, Vodafone also implemented a program called ‘Flexi-Upgrades’. This allowed customers to upgrade to a new device and contract after 6 months under their current contract.
The ’30-day Network Satisfaction’ program was renamed and promoted as the ’30-day Service Guarantee’ starting in June 2018.
History prior to 2000
Vodafone was created through a joint venture formed by Racal Electronics group and Millicom International Cellular SA in 1981. The name Racal Vodafone was coined to reflect the focus of the company on providing both Voice and Data to its customers. Racal Electronics divested Racal Telecom in 1991, and the latter became Vodafone Group.
The company launched the first cellular network in the UK in 1985.
Vodafone created a new service in 1987 under the name Vodapage, which at one time supplied paging services to 80% of the population of the UK.
The company was the first to launch the second generation mobile phone network under the GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) standards in 1991.
Vodafone UK initiated ‘Vodata’ in 1994, which provided digital data and messaging services. The company also entered into the arena of satellite phone service through a plan to design, build and launch a satellite in cooperation with American satellite communications company Globalstar.
History after 2000
The Vodafone network handled the first 3G (third generation) voice call in the UK in 2001. Using these 3G capabilities, Vodafone launched a data card to connect laptop users to the internet in 2005; calling the service ‘Vodafone Mobile Connect 3G’.
The company launched the ‘Speaking Phone’ in 2003 providing assistance to the blind and visually impaired.
Vodafone UK has won two prestigious awards. In 2005, the company was awarded ‘National Retailer of the Year’. In 2010, Mobile News and Mobile Awards recognized Vodafone as ‘Best Network’.
Vodafone and O2 (the second-largest mobile network operator in the United Kingdom) agreed in June 2012 to share their network technology to increase their coverage within the country.
Vodafone acquired its own Fixed-Line Network in a 2012 takeover of Cable and Wireless Worldwide. The cost of this purchase was just over £1 billion (US$1.3 billion), but allowed the company to launch new fixed-line services to Enterprise customers.
This acquisition led to the offering of consumer broadband services to the public using this fixed-line (fiber-optic) network in 2015.
The UK Office of communications awarded Vodafone in 2013, the rights to use the bands for 4G LTE coverage, at a cost of £790 million (US$1.027 billion).
Vodafone launched VoLTE (4G Calling) for iPhone users in 2018.
The company is still in development on their UK TV service offering. Although it was originally scheduled to appear in 2016, it has been delayed with no date given.
‘Tech Team’ was launched in 2011 at certain elite status stores offering free advice to Vodafone customers. During this same year, the company created ‘RED Box’ to help phone users transfer contents from one phone to another.
‘VIP’ was implemented in 2010 in partnership with Live Nation. This reward program gave customers access to tickets up to 48 hours earlier than others for major events in the UK. Invitation Digital developed and launched a Vodafone ‘VIP’ App in May of 2013. Vodafone closed down the ‘VIP’ programs in January of 2014.
‘Freebee Rewardz’ (later renamed Freebee Rewards) is a Vodafone loyalty program implemented in 2011. Pay-as-you-go customers are given opportunities to win rewards for adding money to their account. The marketing campaign featured two bees (created through CGI methods) named Jack and Mike.
‘How are you?’ was used from 2003 to 2006.
‘Make the Most of Now’ was used from 2007 to 2009.
‘Power to you’ was used from 2009 to 2017.
‘The future is exciting … Ready?’ was launched in 2017.
Commercial Radio Program Sponsorship.
Starting in 2010, the company has sponsored a syndicated chart show to promote its products and services. During the first year of this sponsorship, the show was named ‘The Vodafone Freebees Big Top 40 Show’ to promote the ‘Freebees’ brand.
From 2011 to 2017 the show name was reduced to ‘The Vodafone Big Top 40’.
‘The Official Vodafone Big Top 40’ has been the name of the show since 2017. To promote Vodafone’s new mobile network, VOXI, the shows logo has be re-designed with the colors of the subsidiary network’s branding.
‘JustTextGiving’ is a program developed with Justgiving () allowing users to donate money to a registered charity by using an SMS message. Launched in 2011, users are able to donate between £1 and £10 through reverse SMS billing. Vodafone ensured that these charities received 100% of these donations by investing £5 million that they do not incur any set-up costs, or other deductions from donations.