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back to article Voda in 3G blackhole probe by ASA

Serious network problems in Glasgow have left Vodafone customers with a dicky 3G service for at least six months, according to a complaint the Advertising Standards Agency is investigating. “A smartphone without 3G is an expensive paperweight and I am fed up paying £30 a month for this one,” writes one pissed-off Glaswegian at …

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Silver badge
FAIL

Just left Vodafone..

.. After probably 7 years. Never switched mainly through laziness, but what pushed me over was the fact they didn't offer me the same contracts as an old customer as the ones you could get if you were a new customer.

Of course, they then called, saying if I asked on the phone, I could get a great deal. Sorry, but if I have to fuck about on the phone just to get a deal as good as I would with T-Mobile, I'm gone.

Maybe T-Mobile isn't perfect, but at least you can get good coverage by piggy-backing off the 2G Orange signal, and I believe they're extending that to sharing Orange's 3G too.

I can't really complain for the cost.

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Anonymous Coward

There is a vodafone mast right next to my office building in central Glasgow (according to ofcom's sitefinder website).

I have to switch 3G off whenever I'm in the office and the battery drains so quickly trying to tune into a 3G signal. The GSM signal isn't much better, phone doesn't ring half the time.

Will be switching to O2 as soon as my contract is up.

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Silver badge

O2 are no better

O2 have the same problems with backhaul and worse coverage in my travels. In the 50% of my city I can get a 3G or Edge signal at all it rarely delivers even GPRS throughput, took 10minutes to load a single BBC weather page (mobile version!) yesterday.

I don't know which network is worse, the difference seems more about exactly where the black and brown spots are. Though O2 appear to have no detectable rural coverage in much of the midlands and south west...

Like the others I also carry a 3 SIM to fill in the holes.

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Apparently part of Sheffield has similar problems.

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Seems the case nationally with Vodaphone, in MK I rarely see a 3G signal at home despite their coverage checker saying we should get a good signal. They have so far provided us with a femtocell which helps a little as long as we are not using the Internet in which case call quality is no better.

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Megaphone

Not much better in Edinburgh either...

see title... Icon's relevance is that it's a better form of communication than Vodafone

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Here in Waterlooville

I spent 3 months constantly attempting to call customer services due to their network availability (lack thereof) and was consistently told "you should get excellent coverage there, including indoors" even when I was stood in the middle of a car park I had dropped calls, no data service, etc.

It was only when I looked at the map of 3G cell sites and 3G service apps that I personally managed to find the one rogue cell which was causing the dropped calls. It was taking communications away from working cells, then dropping them, which of course made this cell the desirable one as it had no traffic, so round we go again.

Even when given the full details, down to which cell it was on which tower, they still took another month to acknowledge there was an issue, and a further week to actually get around to looking at it. I got one months line rental back as I "had access to phone services, even if data wasn't available" even though dropping calls were experienced when talking to their customer service staff.

I'm not even going to bother explaining the "we don't update customer facing systems during working hours" before cutting me off while updating their call centre software at 1pm BST.

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Bronze badge

not a capacity bottleneck?

Maybe it is just me mis-reading this but if they are so sure it is not a capacity bottleneck, why are they trying to add more sites (which I presume means masts/cells type stuff)?

Someone at Vodaphone really ought to be vetting replies to make sure they don't include contradictory information, or even any information at all....

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Bronze badge

That was my impression, there's no problem with capacity they just don't have enough capacity.

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Spot on

The post is required, and must contain letters.

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Anonymous Coward

i believe the point the droid was trying to make was that it isnt a problem with the *backhaul* as there arent enough cell sites (even though they are overloaded) to saturate it...

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and they're bringing a MiFi device to market?!

lol from another voda customer that is constantly attached to a 3UK MiFi

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Bronze badge

Interesting isn't it that people have resorted to the ASA rather than the toothless Ofcom.

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Pirate

Voda-can't-fone

It not just in Glasgow.

Leeds City Centre has the exact same problem and outside the centre majority of the time it drops to the 2G network.

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FAIL

o2 also pretty naff

Having tried to use o2's 3g network in places like Bath or Reading, not impressed at all.

I suspect that only 3 has a built for purpose 3g network, the rest have just popped 3g antennae onto their existing 2g masts and hoped for the best, while take customers' money on those expensive smartphone contracts.

UK's 3g system needs to triple it's capacity to begin to catch up with the smartphone boom.

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Anonymous Coward

Willing to pay triple the bill to pay for triple the infrastructure?

well are you?

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Silver badge

I've never had a problem in Reading with O2. Oxford is a different matter altogether. I am quite often unable to get a signal of any sort.

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Anonymous Coward

"UK's 3g system needs to triple it's capacity to begin to catch up with the smartphone boom."

Where did you find the current capacity? I've been curious about that for ages and I can't seem to find it anywhere.

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FAIL

Same in part of City Of London

I was given a 3G Voda dongle while working on a client site in the the City. The connection would be OK at first and then traffic would grind to a halt. Like some kind of per-connection high water mark. The carrier was OK, could disconnect and reconnect and get an IP allocated etc. but traffic was blocked. Nowhere near any monthly limits.

Tried my personal TMobile as a tether and it worked perfectly when I really needed it.

So, a cariier but no traffic. Vodafraud back to their old tricks again ?

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FAIL

voda contract hostage not pleased...

I've called to complain about the complete lack of decent voda coverage in Glasgow city centre a few times and this has been a complete joke.

If I can't break my contract without penalty then I'l lbe seeking advice as to how best to do so. I have never ever had so many dropped calls failed sms and screwed internet on any other network in the town centre.

However I have just had a mobile mast installation team start to stick a new mast up on top of a building next to my workplace (Washington Street, next to Kingston Bridge) and I tell you, that had better be a vodaphone mast or I'm off.

Fed up and stuck halfway on a premium personal 2yr contract .

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Silver badge
Joke

Like the Mars bars ...

Even the 3G service in Glasgow is fried.

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Unhappy

Voda 3g

IMHO Voda need to be investigated by Ofcom (for compliance with their license/coverage requirements) , not the ASA (though they do have a cheek to market 3G wireless broadband...).

As a self-employed bod who travels the length and breadth of the UK on a frequent basis, with a 3G Nokia on Voda, and a USB dongle on 3 for my laptop, there is no comparison between the networks. Voda's 3G coverage is an abysmal embarrassment. Outside built up areas it is non existent, and even in those areas it can be very patchy and slow. We are now almost 10 years into 3G technology, yet Voda have not even upgraded all of their 2G cells for 3G coverage, let alone built significant infills. My business often takes me to work on or next to cell sites, and I can stand there reading the Vodafone logo on a cabin door, yet there is no 3G coverage. Their 2G coverage is generally second to none, so they need to stop resting on their laurels and running on past glories and get some investment into their UK network and not on sponsoring football shirts and whatever.

When 3G first appeared Glasgow city centre was one of the areas across the UK which was "wired up" for discreet cellular coverage, with lots of infill points to create an experimental "wireless city". AFAIK that network is still there and Voda have access to it, so they have no excuse other than laziness and taking their eye off the ball.

And if you complain to Voda about 3G coverage? They ask for your postcode and offer to send you a femtocell PoS. What has my home postcode got to do with it? It's a bl**dy MOBILE phone - the clue being in the title. It actually works fairly well in my home.

Having spent a year with an I-phone on Voda my business partner ditched them in favour of 3 earlier this year and hasn't looked back, and whenever I get round to retiring my old Nokia I won't be hanging around with Voda either.

ooh, feel better for that now. Good start to a Monday morning...

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Coat

Investigated by Ofcom?

In the words of Denis Healey

That's like being savaged by a dead sheep

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Canary Wharf

I can never get a data signal in Canary Wharf and half the time my voice calls drop out, I can only assume the sheer volume of BB users on Vodafone have decimated the piddling network.

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City of london pretty bad as well

Just junked vodafone due to very poor 3g access in City of London. No problems so far with O2 there.

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Unhappy

Portsmouth too

Keep getting this problem.

Full scale HSDPA connection. No data throughput.

The "send" up arrow is on continuously, but never receive.

Seems Vodafone have a big problem.

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HTC by any chance?

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FAIL

It's even worse than that

"Calls on 2G seem to be unaffected by this issue so you can still use your phone for its purpose" -- that's completely untrue too. I only have a 2G phone - a trusty Sony Ericsson K750i -- and this phone works perfectly fine everywhere except in the centre of Glasgow. Texts that won't send, calls that won't connect or get cut off. It's a total disaster and Voda keep telling us all is ok? Utter crap.

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Mayfair & Clapham

Vodafone also has severe problems in Mayfair and Clapham. So much so that they allowed me to exit my contract with no penalities due to the poor performance of their data network in both Clapham where I live and Mayfair where I work.

They also arranged for our Mayfair based users to have an O2 SIM card, but to remain with Vodafone for their Blackberries, so as not to lose our contract. If this doesn't tell you there is a problem in Mayfair, then nothing will. Amazing really if they can't provide a service to the most expensive real estate in the world, the I would suggest Glasgow has no chance.

If you're getting a raw deal, pester Vodafone to leave them. It took my many phone calls, but they let me out of my contract in the end.

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Same problem for me

I have been having this problem in Glasgow for over a year and no one else in my office is able to access data on their phone even though they have a full 3g signal. I originally posted to vodafone back in Feb and have had no luck using 3g ever at my office. I'm looking forward to cancelling my contract and moving to Three.

http://forum.vodafone.co.uk/t5/iPhone-4/No-internet-access-with-5-bar-3G-signal/td-p/646279

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FAIL

Most of Hampshire

It's OK though, because it's only the 5th most populated county in the country, so why on earth would they try to get reasonable 3G coverage? I don't get reliable 2G coverage in either my house or office and the car journey through NE Hampshire is a patchy quilt of coverage of any sort.

Sure Signal? Don't make me giraffe. Got one at home and office and they're just about averagely useful unless you're doing any heavy lifting on the broadband, in which case you might as well use semaphore flags...

Shitest. Network. Ever.

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Anonymous Coward

All the notworks suck to an extent - I paid my way out of an O2 contract as the coverage was so poor. They told me to disable 3G on my iPhone as the 2G coverage was better - yeah nice suggestion. I actually switches to Vodafone after testing T-Mobile, Orange and Three and it was by far the best - for me - ymmv.

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Anonymous Coward

Newbury too.

And it's the home of Vodafone, Alanis...

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Same for me in Edinburgh

Seems to have been getting steadily worse over the last 6 months.

Now 2 3rds of locations I might be have dropped to 2g including the bulk of the city centre.

On a strong 3g signal site lookup can take 30 seconds to timeout though page load tends to be OK.

Only on 3.5g do I seem to get anything like fit for purpose browsing and that seems to be about 10% coverage over Edinbugh just now.

My experience with the CS was slightly different in that they did offer to look up issues in areas if I supplied postcodes. At the time apparently 2 masts were down in the region of the airport, 1 by my flat and another around the Corstorphine regions. This was jsut after some very strong wind but since coverage is gettign worse I can just assume they are not putting them back up again.

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Anonymous Coward

I do like it how companies define what is 'fit for the purpose'. It has always been the right of the consumer to declare if it's fit for the purpose or not, under the Sales of Goods Act, except over six months. Since this is well documented, it would be hard for them to disprove the network had been persistently failing in Glasgow.

Which in the case of a smart phone, I'd say it really wasn't fit for the purpose if it can't get on the Internet. Sounds like a bit of scare tactics from Vodafone, don't want people to realise they could return their phones to me. There are of course some contractual issues. Might need some intervention by someone like the Office of Fair Trading.

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Orange and Voda are just as bad as each other

Guess the networks need to start putting some of those profits back into the infrastructure......oh what then they wouldn't be able to take those huge bonuses for shafting their customers and patching the network to just.....just get by on a bare minimum.

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Silver badge

Not just Edinburgh

Was on Voda and had plenty of "missed calls" with 4 bars (out of 5) signal but the phone never rang. You can expect a few of these, as the caller might hang up before the phone actually connects, but when they also leave voicemail messages as well?

The exact same phone, prior to being unlocked, was on Orange and never had this particular problem.

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vodafone 3g network down south!

hi,

i live in birmingham UK and use a iphone 3gs which uses 3g. or should!

been with vodafone for many years and found when i had my iphone, the 3gs in parts of birmingham is crap! this also a pain in the bum as i cant use 3g at home. seems to works when it wants.

fed up of telling voda about this by calling or opening a call on there faults board. shame i got 12months on it still :-(

i feel your pain Glasgow!!!

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Holmes

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

"Since when has the primary purpose of an iPhone been to make calls?"

How do I upvote the main article??

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Silver badge

I suspect

That most of this is capacity issues from where the network operators and voda in particular investment in cell sites and backhaul have failed to keep pace with the explosion in demand for 3G data services.

Like others in the city and the wharf I get excellent data performance between 7 and 9 am and by 10 I might as well be using a v34 modem.

What we need is to extend the bbc's crowd sourced coverage app so everyone can have a source of network performance data that explicitly refers to their area so they can make an informed choice on network.

Vote with your feet it's the only thing they understand.

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Anonymous Coward

Vodafone 3G coverage is poor where I need it the most

I have had an iPhone 4 with Vodafone a few weeks after it was released back in 2010.

I have been unable to get a decent 3G signal in the places that I need it the most, that would be in various parts of west and north west London.

Vodafone do not appear to be developing their 3G coverage as quickly, as say, 3.

Why haven't they deployed 3G over 900 MHz like o2 have? Ofcom have already given permission for this!

I've only got a few months left on my contract. I expect I'll unlock the handset and move over to 3, the network with greater 3G coverage and an 'all you can eat' data plan.

I am in no way connected to 3. My associates have had good experience with 3 and often have signal where I do not.

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Meh

You can get them to admit there's a problem...

You just have to have been a mobile phone air interface protocol stack test case author for several years.

http://forum.vodafone.co.uk/t5/Network/Reading-Gren-Park-RG2-6GP-3G-issues-full-strength-no-data/m-p/890973#M25687

About 15 minutes after my "bump" reply, I got a helpful call from an engineer who is now monitoring the RG2 area, and I have an admission that the 3G tower in the area is "showing some strange data" (whatever that means). RG2 has had miserable bandwidth for months now, full 3G strength but sporadic and usually dead PDP contexts with no capability to pull data though.

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Anonymous Coward

Pretty widespread

T mobile in Cheltenham is pretty ropey in places (not in the town centre store of course) where it shouldn't be, and my phone will be sitting there and suddenly tell me I have missed a call when its not even run and when I phone the person back they tell me that it went directly to voice mail. Data connectivity is pretty patchy too with T mobile support telling me that if I want a 3G signal I should go outside and when I said I often have NO data connectivity they told me to turn it to 2G only so that way it would find a signal. When I said this sort of defeated the purpose of have an "always on" data contract they told me to live with it.

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WTF?

voda crap everywhere?

I know someone on voda, who has had multiple different phones, always has call issues (dropping calls, breaking up etc) and has this pretty much everywhere they go, and they live nowhere near glasgow, so seems voda are just crap everywhere!

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Anonymous Coward

Glasgow Cell

We are in Bothwell St in Glasgow and also experience this issue. Apparently there is a cell tower down by the Kingston Bridge that is busted, but to fix it they'd need to close a lane of the bridge to get a crane in or something. Which isn't going to happen any time soon.

They also said to me a while ago that they are very low on capacity in Glasgow and will be building about 9 more cell sites before the end of the year.

Having talked to other people in area Voda are actually putting in building femto-cells in some premises (at their expense and with their broadband backhaul) to get around this problem.

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Just Glasgow?

I've been happy with Vodafone for many years... until I got my first iPhone last year. I know I get patchy 3G where I live in Northants but even when I have a full Edge/2G signal I can barely get any data, I also spend a lot of time in Coventry and have found in some parts of the city centre my phone is completely unusable! In the case of Coventry Vodafone have told me they're aware of the problem, but how long do we have to wait for an "aware" to become "fixed"?

I'm due my next upgrade in a few weeks and to be honest I really don't want to switch from a network that has served me well for 10+ years... but I'm already looking at the alternatives!

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Go

That new rooftop mast next to kingston bridge on Washington Street IS Vodafone.

I suspect this is the one they said 'needed repaired' and hire of a crane.. no repairing here it was a clean install complete with new data pipe into ground data network.

Currently now enjoying 2mb internet on HSDPA for a change, no dropped calls and best of all SMS works again... wonder how long that'll last...

Let's see what Vodafone spin comes out on this one now.

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