Vodafone Is About To Lose More Customers Than Ever

Vodafone's 2012-13 results are littered with bad news stories surrounding the ongoing bleed of customers. At its next results briefing, the company expects to lose more than ever, but not for the reasons you might think.

Vodafone CEO, Bill Morrow, told journalists at a briefing this morning that accounting and finance changes surrounding the reporting of results means that a huge slide in customer numbers is on the way.

Speaking about customer losses, Morrow said that the change from negative to positive won't happen until next year, after a last big hit of losses due to reporting changes.

"[Customer losses are] going to be bigger than what the normal run rate is because we've cleaned up accounting and [eliminated] a large number of non-tolling customers. [In the past] we would have gone to customers and given them another SIM and counted them as a revenue-generating customer, but they'll toss that into a drawer. We've been showing that as a customer [when we don't want to be]. The finance guys and accounting guys have been told to remove those as customers because they aren't bona fide [users]. We've been doing that in the last half of this year," Morrow said.

The Vodafone CEO also said that the closure of the 3 Mobile brand in Australia will also contribute to a larger slide in customer losses.

"With 3 [Mobile], we migrated 1.2 million customers, and there are still a low monthly spend category of customer who didn't want to move [to Vodafone] because it was [used] as a second or third service that they had in a glove box for safety reasons and they just closed that down with the merger."

Morrow added that the new reporting structure has been put in place for full transparency about the telco's customer base.

"We want to give you the real story as to what's happening, and that's what we're going to evaluate next January/February."

HD Voice

Briefly, Vodafone also mentioned at the briefing that it would be open to discussions with Telstra over supporting cross-network HD Voice calls.

"We're open to cross-network HD Voice. Anything that delivers that customer experience we want. We'd be happy to have the inter-carrier connection. We encourage that."

NBN Plans

Vodafone has always flagged its intention to jump into fixed line space via the National Broadband Network. Those plans look set to be put on ice for now, however, thanks to the current uncertainty surrounding the government infrastructure.

"The NBN schedule keeps floating around so it's not a major concern of ours," Morrow said, before declaring that the telco would likely look to jump in on the fibre network around 2016-17, rather than next year or the year after.

Morrow also revealed he has had productive meetings with new Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

"Malcolm [Turnbull] is a mental sponge, he wants to learn everything we can share."

The Future?

Moving into the future, Morrow promised customers that they would see constant positive change from the telco.

At a high level, Vodafone's CEO Bill Morrow is promising more international roaming, more network news, more pricing plans, more local service, more technological innovation in the future.



    To be honest, Vodafone have been offering better customer service and packages to their customers in the last 2 years than their competitors. They understand that they lacked alot of things, so they picked up their game, and Morrow has pulled it into line. I commend Vodafone for their efforts, and unless Optus can give me some more freebies next year when I renew my contract, im going over to Vodafone.

      So am I, to be fair.

      Bill Morrow actually noted that their Net Promoter Score (industry-standard metric for how many customers have nice things to say about you based on interactions) has experienced a huge uptick since the disastrous Vodafail days. There's a real success story here.

        Not hard to come back from a very negative score but yes good on them. If they had good coverage then I may consider them but alas that means more expenditure which means higher costs and therefore higher retail prices.

          I was with them from just after the Vodafail experience and had nothing but good service from them. A few dropped calls at home but the customer service side was really good.

          That being said, they couldn't offer me much to retain my business and I switched to Aldi prepaid unlimited for 1/2 what I was paying with them yet now I receive more data and calls.

            I think you have raised an often overlooked area, at what point does cost to offer good service stop being economically smart? Aldi I am sure don't offer good service but they are cheap.

      I was working at Telstra when Voda's network died. The stories we got from customers and how they were being treated by Voda's customer service reps (in store and over the phone) were appalling. Customers were being told that they couldn't leave because their contracts weren't up and when the customers threatened to go to the TIO (because Voda couldn't uphold their end of the contract, eg. provide service) Voda threatened to cancel contracts and charge customers the full price of the contract. Despite the fact that's stupid and going to get Voda sued.

      The reason why Optus and Telstra are more expensive than Voda is because Voda can't provide the same level of service as Optus and Telstra. You pay for what you get.

        "customers threatened to go to the TIO"
        this is a result of lots of media coverage over the last 5-10 years. Now most customers are quite savvy and can push the providers and find loopholes. the customer will manipulate the call center cosultant to get what they want.
        i have worked in several different call centers and have had customers do this to me and at the same time done this myself so i have been on both sides of the fence.

          TIO, "industry ombudsman" or "consumer affairs" seems to be the magic button for a lot of companies. More power to us consumers I say!

          When you can't provide the service that you're contractually obliged to provide, the customer has every right to go to the TIO and take it further. Especially if they won't let you out of your contract for the above reasons.

        If the gap between Optus and Vodafone was really as you say, Optus would never have teamed up with them. Optus and Vodafone have teamed up together and are sharing infrastructure and network sites, Overall, I think they are pretty even and working together they pose a real threat to Telstra's dominance.

        Telstra still run the best network, that is a fact, but naturally you pay a premium for that service.

      I was voda for 6 months the worse experience ever.go to Tasi go to NT and you will have no network at all.vodafone is a third class network. Now lm Telstar top notch network .coober .womera etc etc in WA same lot of places are only covered by Telstar.
      That is the fac.voda is rubbish.

    I have 2 contracts with my phone companies one for business and one for leisure and for business there is no match to Telstra at this stage but i have gone back to Vodafone for leisure contract as i noted a major improvement in their network where i live as my partner is on Voda. I think all the bad press forced them to change their business model and it is vastly better with some distance to go yet but the big thing for me is that they actually offer better value for money these days than other telcos and that is something to celebrate. Their new roaming deals and better data included compared to other telcos is what drew me back to them. I hope the improvements continue and that their customer service/technical support follow the lead of network improvements.

    We have a property where Telstra, Vodaphone, Optus & Vivid Wireless have their comms facilities. Based on the number of callouts to the property one would have to think that reliability is a major factor for Vodaphone. In the past 6 months Vodaphone callouts have been in the high teens, Optus low single digits, Vivid low single digits and Telstra - None!

    That explains why every time I have upgraded a handset in the past they sent me a new SIM even though I already had a SIM...

    I was with Vodafone for a number of years, holding out hope that things would get better as promised.. but things never did get better.. in fact they got worse over time. I've just this year switched away from Vodafone and I now feel as though I am paying for what I use for the first time in years.

    Unfortunately all this is too little too late. I have been with Crazy Johns (now Vodafone) for several years and come January when my contract is up I am moving to either Telstra or Optus. Just fed up with the poor signal. So many places my wife and I go and we get little or no signal and all our friends on other providers have no issues at all. The customer service may have improved but from my experience unless you live in the CBD then the signal quality is sketchy and totally unreliable.

      Dear lord, CJ's have been using Vodafone network for over 5 years.
      So what has changed?
      I work for Vodafone and over the bagging, you have been on the same network the whole time.
      I think it is not the network is the problem, just perception.
      You have had time to leave.

        Hey revlup, the final decision maker was losing the awesome deals that CJ's had. I was prepared to put up with the shonky reception for the amazing deal I got for my wife and I. For the same money on Vodafone now I get nowhere near the same value so once my CJ contract is finished and I get moved to VF then it's time to look for something else. It's amazing what we will put up with if the price is low enough.

          Thank you for the truth, it's the price. Your first comment was the coverage,
          The whole story is that you are leaving for the price change.
          Thank you, hope you look at us in 2years time.
          Regards to you and your wife, sorry we couldn't help you out this time.
          And please contact me if you are looking again in 2years time.

      Don't think you'll get a better service on Craptus. Their 3G coverage is pathetic IMO and I'm only with them (through Vaya) due to the fairly cheap plan. I'm not ever giving Helstra any of my money again, even if they have the best network.

    Simple fix. Give us 10gb data on a mobile plan for 60 dollars a month and just watch how many people sign up. I've got my wallet open now. Come on Vodafone, Telstra and optus are shooting themselves in the foot with their disgusting paltry amount of data they give people. 4G speeds and miserly data allowance means you can chew up your data in 2 hours.

    Replace 'sponge' by 'case' when referring to ex-minister Conroy.

    I admit to having nothing to compare it with, but I have been with Vodafone since my first mobile phone through to my smart? phone. I have always been treated well by franchisees and customer service and happy with all the deals I've entered into.

    This is just a cover to divert public attention away from the massive loss of actual customers.
    Morrow is probably doing a few things right but speak to the tassie based retention team and you will want to leave in a hurry too.
    Vodafail employees like @revlup1966 are only providing evidence of the nonsensical attitude of vodafail. You can't survive without customers so treat them right.

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