Vodafone UK

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Vodafone UK Limited
Subsidiary
Industry Telecommunication
Founded 1982 (1982)
Headquarters Newbury, England, UK
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Nick Jeffery (CEO)[1]
Services Telecommunications
Internet service provider
Parent Vodafone Group plc
Website vodafone.co.uk

Vodafone UK is a provider of telecommunications services in the United Kingdom, and a part of the Vodafone Group, the world's second-largest mobile phone company.[2][3][4] As of March 2018, Vodafone UK has 17.5 million subscribers (a loss of ~400,000 since March 2017) and is the third largest mobile telecommunications network nationally after EE and O2.[5] In October 2017 the network had a complete rebrand and image overhaul with a new 2D logo and slogan, "The future is exciting. Ready?".

History

Mobile network

In 1981, Racal Electronics Group won its bid for the private sector UK Cellular licence, and created Racal Telecomms Division. The same year, Racal formed a joint venture with Millicom named 'Racal Vodafone'. Vodafone made the first ever cellular telephone call in the United Kingdom on 1 January 1985, from St Katharine Docks to Newbury, and launched the UK's first cellular network later that year. 'Vodapage' was launched two years later, providing 80% of the United Kingdom's population with a paging service.

Racal Telecom was demerged from Racal Electronics in 1991, becoming Vodafone Group, and introduced the country's first GSM mobile phone network the same year. The company launched 'Vodata' in 1994, providing digital data, fax and a text messaging service. Vodafone also began working with Globalstar to develop and launch a satellite to provide a Satellite phone service.

On 5 January 1999, Vodafone UK connected its 5 millionth customer.

The first 3G voice call in the UK was made in 2001 on the Vodafone UK network, with an initial network of 30 base stations in the Thames Valley.[citation needed] In 2003, Vodafone introduced the 'Speaking Phone', a phone for blind & visually impaired users. Vodafone Mobile Connect 3G was launched in 2005, a data card that uses the network's 3G capabilities to connect laptop users to the internet.

Vodafone UK won Mobile Retailer's 'National Retailer of the Year' in 2005 and was awarded 'Best Network' in the 2010 Mobile News and Mobile Awards.[6]

In May 2011, Vodafone and Justgiving launched 'JustTextGiving', which allows mobile phone user to donate between £1 and £10 to a registered charity using a SMS message, which is paid for by the donor through reverse SMS billing. Vodafone invested £5 million to ensure that charities do not incur any set-up costs, or commissions deducted from donations, ensuring that they receive 100% of donations and Gift Aid.[7][8]

Vodafone and O2 signed a deal in June 2012 which will see the two companies 'pool' their network technology, creating a single national grid of 18,500 transmitter sites. Both networks will continue to carry their own independent mobile spectrum.[9][10][11]

On 20 February 2013, Ofcom announced that Vodafone had been awarded spectrum in the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands for 4G LTE coverage, bidding around £790 million for the spectrum.[12] The service became available to customers in London on 29 August, and will expand to a further twelve cities by the end of 2013.[13]

On 29 March 2018, following the release of iOS 11.3, Vodafone launched VoLTE (4G Calling) for iPhone users, with devices from the iPhone 6S to the iPhone X being compatible. The feature had been active on some Android phones from Huawei, Samsung Mobile and Sony Mobile prior to its launch on Apple Inc. devices.

Fixed network

On 1 April 2012, Vodafone agreed a takeover of Cable & Wireless Worldwide at a cost of just over £1 billion.[14] The acquisition gave Vodafone access to its own fixed line network, in addition to the already established mobile network, allowing the company to begin work on launching a variety of fixed line services to Enterprise customers in addition to the ex-CWW customers which it acquired during the initial takeover.

Following the acquisition of CWW, Vodafone began working on a consumer Broadband and TV proposition, using its fibre network. Vodafone launched its broadband offering to the UK public on 12 October 2015.[15] Work is ongoing for the launch of Vodafone's UK TV service, which the company originally planned to launch before the spring of 2016,[16] however has since delayed to a later date.

Radio frequency summary

Frequencies used on the Vodafone UK network
Frequency Protocol Band Class
900 MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE 2G
1800 MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE/LTE/LTE-Advanced[17][18] 3 2G/4G/4G+
900 MHz UMTS/HSDPA/HSPA+/DC-HSPA+ 8 3G
2100 MHz UMTS/HSDPA/HSPA+/DC-HSPA+/LTE/LTE Advanced[18] 1 3G/4G/4G+
800 MHz LTE/LTE Advanced 20 4G/4G+
900 MHz LTE/LTE Advanced 8 4G/4G+
1500 MHz (SDL) LTE[19] 32 4G/4G+
2600 MHz (FDD) LTE/LTE Advanced 7 4G/4G+
2600 MHz (TDD) TD-LTE 38 4G/4G+

Vodafone LTE 1800 MHz is only available in some areas, having been refarmed from 2G (1800 MHz), whereas the LTE 2100 MHz is available in a rapidly increasing number of areas and is very potent in areas such as Cardiff, London, Manchester and Birmingham.[20]

Marketing

Stores

Vodafone operates a retail estate, with more than 480 stores located across the UK that sell Home & Business landline & broadband, mobile phone handsets, Vodafone contracts & SIM offers.[21]

A 'Tech Team' section (similar to Apple's Genius Bar) was rolled out in November 2011 to Vodafone 'Elite' status Stores in cities & large towns, offering free advice to all customers of the mobile network. Vodafone also introduced the 'RED Box' to its stores at the same time, which allows phone users to transfer contents between handsets.[22]

London Taxi with Vodafone livery

Vodafone VIP

Beginning in 2010, Vodafone UK operated a 'VIP' reward scheme as part of a partnership with Live Nation, in which customers could access tickets 48 hours before release for major UK events including T in the Park, Isle of Wight Festival, Reading & Leeds festival, London Fashion Week and the British Grand Prix.[23] Some of the music festivals involved in the scheme had their own 'Vodafone VIP' areas, available to customers by winning certain competitions. In May 2013, the Vodafone VIP Mobile Application developed by Invitation Digital was launched on both iPhone and Android platforms. In January 2014, Vodafone announced the closure of Vodafone VIP with immediate effect.

Freebee Rewardz

Vodafone UK launched a loyalty scheme named ' Freebee Rewardz' in late 2011, accompanied by a £3million marketing campaign featuring two CGI bees named Jack and Mike voiced by Dan Antopolski and Karl Theobald.[24] Each time a pay-as-you-go customer tops-up their balance, they are given the chance to either enter for an instant reward (such as a discount on a film from Blockbuster, or free credit toward their balance) or to collect 'Pointz' that can be added to their account towards a bigger prize.[25] In May 2015 Rewardz were renamed Rewards to reflect marketing changes[26]

30 Day Service Guarantee and Flexi-Upgrade

In 2017 Vodafone UK launched two new features one called 30-day network satisfaction for new and upgrading customers that if they aren't happy with the Vodafone service and coverage within the first 30 days of having the contract the user can cancel and leave the network, the other is called Flexi-Upgrades this allows Vodafone customers after 6 months of being in their current contract to upgrade to a new device and contract after paying a certain amount off of their contract/device plans.

In June 2018 the 30-day Network Satisfaction was renamed and readvertised as the 30-day Service Guarantee.

Slogans

Vodafone used the slogan 'How are you?'[27] in the UK between 2003 and 2006, but briefly switched in 2007 to "Make the Most of Now".[28] In 2009 they switched to the international 'Power to you' branding, which the company used for 8 years.

On 6 October 2017, Vodafone unveiled a new global brand campaign. This saw the iconic logo return to its former 2D appearance and the introduction of their new slogan "The future is exciting... Ready?"[29]

The Official Vodafone Big Top 40

Since November 2010, Vodafone has used commercial radio’s syndicated chart show to advertise it’s products and offers. Sunday evenings between 4 & 7, produced at London’s Capital FM and syndicated to some of the biggest local radio stations in the UK, the show hosted by Marvin Humes & Kat Shoob airs.

For the first 12 months of their sponsorship, Vodafone pushed their ‘Freebees’ brand and the show was named ‘The Vodafone Freebees Big Top 40 Show’ before being changed to simply ‘The Vodafone Big Top 40’ in 2011.

Since 2017, the show has been named ‘The Official Vodafone Big Top 40’ and the logo has been re-made to fit the colours of Vodafone’s new subsidiary mobile network, VOXI. The show is used as a way of advertising this.

Controversies

Data charges

Vodafone UK came under criticism in June 2011 after they scrapped their fair-use policy on data charges, meaning those without monthly allowances would pay 50p for every 10MB of data used.[30]

Loss of network

A break-in at the Vodafone exchange centre in Basingstoke on 28 February 2011 left several hundreds of thousands of customers in the west of London without network access, after burglars stole computer equipment and damaged network hardware.[31]

Subcontracting to third-parties

Vodafone came under fire for its role in the Manchester Arena bombing of May 2017. The company outsourced the for the National Mutual Aid Telephony system out to a third party under the name of Content Guru. When the attack took place, the system failed to operate and resulted in those affected by the attack not being able to contact police or emergency services.[32][33]

VOXI by Vodafone

On 8 September 2017, Vodafone launched their VOXI sim-only plans which offered under-25s unlimited minutes, texts and endless data to social media websites and apps.[34] In 2018 the upper age limit was raised to under-30's.

References

  1. ^ "Feedback to the Vodafone UK CEO". Vodafone. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  2. ^ "Global 500". CNN. 25 July 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  3. ^ Krishna, R. Jai; Mukherjee, Arpan (30 July 2010). "Vodafone Says No Tax Due in India, Mulls IPO for Local Unit". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
  4. ^ "News Release" (PDF). Vodafone Group Plc. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  5. ^ "Vodafone Group Annual Report 2018" (PDF). Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  6. ^ "About us – Legal information". Vodafone. 1 January 1985. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  7. ^ Warman, Matt (9 May 2011). "'New age' of charity donations by text message". The Daily Telegraph.
  8. ^ "JustGiving and Vodafone launch free text donation service". Fundraising UK. 9 May 2011.
  9. ^ Laughlin, Andrew (7 June 2012). "Vodafone and O2 to merge mobile network infrastructure". Digital Spy. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  10. ^ "4G timetable agreed by UK mobile network operators". BBC News. 2 October 2012.
  11. ^ Vodafone UK (26 October 2012). "Vodafone 4G".
  12. ^ "Ofcom announces winners of the 4G mobile auction". Ofcom. 20 February 2013. Archived from the original on 5 September 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  13. ^ "Vodafone announces 4G launch in UK". BBC News. 7 August 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  14. ^ "Vodafone agrees £1bn takeover of C&W Worldwide". BBC News. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  15. ^ "VODAFONE BROADBAND AND HOME PHONE SERVICES ROLL OUT ACROSS THE UK". Vodafone UK Media Centre. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  16. ^ "Vodafone will launch TV service in the UK before April 2016". broadbandchoices. 11 November 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  17. ^ "MOBILE NETWORK IN A BRIEFCASE COMES TO LONDON JOINT INNOVATION BY VODAFONE AND ERICSSON – Vodafone UK Media Centre". Vodafone UK Media Centre. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  18. ^ a b "Vodafone 4G 2100MHz and 4G 1800MHz". pedroc.co.uk. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  19. ^ "Three UK and Vodafone Grab 1.4 GHz Band to Boost 4G Speeds". ISP Review. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  20. ^ Peter Clarke (1 July 2018). "Vodafone 4G 2100MHz and 1800MHz Refarm". Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  21. ^ "Vodafone UK to Roll Out 50 New Stores". 3g.co.uk. 9 December 2008. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  22. ^ "Vodafone launches new UK tech team – Tech News". Digital Spy. 1 November 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  23. ^ Sara Kimberley (22 June 2010). "Vodafone launches major reward scheme – Marketing news". Marketing magazine. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  24. ^ Sarah Shearman (18 October 2011). "Vodafone supports Freebee Rewardz with £3m campaign – Marketing news". Marketing magazine. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  25. ^ "Vodafone UK To Launch Vodafone FreeBee Rewardz | Tech on the Go – News and Reviews covering iPhone, Android and Mobile Computing". Techonthego.co.uk. 30 September 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  26. ^ "Terms and conditions – Vodafone Freebee Rewardz – Vodafone". vodafone.co.uk. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  27. ^ "Vodafone Live Advert, Ad – Vodafone Live! – Video Clip". Visit4ads.com. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  28. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2GYM_c-E7U
  29. ^ "Is Vodafone's new ad campaign a little too clever?". Sky News. 5 October 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  30. ^ Trenholm, Rich (19 May 2010). "Vodafone's new data-roaming charges force you to travel light". CNET. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  31. ^ "Thousands lose Vodafone service". BBC News. 28 February 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
  32. ^ "Manchester Arena attack: National Mutual Aid Telephony system failed". Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  33. ^ "Manchester terror attack: why did the Vodafone telephone line fail?". iNews. 27 March 2018. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  34. ^ https://mediacentre.vodafone.co.uk/news/voxi-launches/

External links

  • Official website (Vodafone)
  • Official website (VOXI)
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