Who Now The What Now Vodafone?

Late last year, I reported on the status of the Vodafone network around my home and the apparent suddenness of the lack of usable 3G in the vicinity.

Using data provided from the Radio Frequency National Site Archive, I have generated a map of the locations – (via GPS) – of all towers providing Vodafone services in my postcode – (click for larger view):

I can’t vouch for how up to date this data is, but driving around the area, it seems reasonably accurate. All the towers plotted seem to exist.

Without giving away the exact location of my home, I am located within the triangle created by the three lower-most towers on the map. Given the density of the towers across the entire map, I should have some of the best coverage in the area.

I know that the tower in the upper-left of that triangle is a small antenna on top of a power pole, and should be the weakest of the three, but the other two are quite significant full size towers.

If I’m having poor reception in this triangle, how are the other people on Vodafone in the wider area doing?

As a disclaimer, and to give Vodafone the full credit they deserve, they did offer me a rebate on my monthly spend to apologise for the situation.

Their customer service has been exemplary in handling this issue, and I cannot fault the way they have handled it. I was entirely appreciative and grateful for their offer, which I accepted.

This is the first significant issue I’ve had with Vodafone since I moved over to them, despite all the “Vodafail” stories.

Nonetheless, the story does get a little more interesting.

As I discussed in the original article:

“The issue was referred to their network guys for investigation – one of whom contacted me this afternoon to advise that it was indeed a cell congestion problem, and that three new towers were to be deployed in the area.”

“Here’s the kicker though – he said it would take until April to rectify.”

Strangely, over the last week to ten days, while the problem still exists, things have noticeably improved.

I generally don’t have to switch my phone down to 2G mode when I’m home any more, though it is still required on some occasions to ensure I get incoming texts and calls, if nothing else.

I’ve not tried 3G data in the area of late, because when I’m home I’m running off my home WiFi. I will have to try that tonight.

It’s a remarkable improvement in around three weeks, yet I’m quite sure three new towers haven’t been built in that time. I’m also quite sure not one has been built and commissioned in that time.

While I’m not complaining about the improvement – (there is still a way to go) – it makes me wonder about the initial “we need to build three new towers” claim.

Fact? Or just a bit of customer service spin?

Four months or three weeks?

Needless to say, I’ll be keeping an eye out for the new towers over the coming months.

Curious.

  • I am not 100 % sure, but this is being done from memory and some quick searches now.

    Basically the site you looked at – is showing you sites, which is basically the post, and at each site there is a number of antenna’s. Some of these antennas are omni-directional (point in all directions) and some others are fixed direction and only point in one direction, sometimes there may be several pointing in various directions to give a complete circle, other times, there may only be one pointing in a certain direction to fill in a hole.

    So just because you are surrounded by Telecommunications towers it does not necessarily mean that the antennas are pointed towards you.

    If you want to dig further into this have a look through this site http://web.acma.gov.au/pls/radcom/register_search.main_page?pSEARCH_TYPE=Sites which shows much more detail about each antenna as well as each site.

    • Thanks Stephen…working in the telco space, I do appreciate the nuances you’ve explained – but wasn’t aware ACMA provided such extra info.

      I’ll certainly give it a look.