Vodafone Australia is a company in the middle of a turnaround. Its new CEO, Iñaki Berroeta, said today in Sydney that he was attracted to the role because he saw a brand capable of "fixing itself" after experiencing considerable issues two years ago. Vodafone wants to be the company for the smartphone user, but is there still a stigma attached to signing up with Vodafone?
"We had a stigma," Berroeta admitted of Vodafone to journalists today. "We're reversing that," he added.
That's true, especially considering that Vodafone's 4G network now has over 1 million customers, and adding more every single day.
The coverage is getting better too. Vodafone is rolling out over 100 new 4G cells per month, last month cranking that number up to 140 cells in 30 days. And it's only going to get better with two new tech guys at the helm.
Berroeta is an engineer at heart, and his number two in command, Chief Technology Officer Benoit Hanssen, is also a hardcore networking guy. Berroeta himself almost has a bloody-minded ambition to make Vodafone a company Australia can be proud of again: "I'm not here to make plans, I'm here to make this company successful," the normally friendly Berroeta said very straight-facedly.
Berroeta promised that it won't go back to the dark days of Vodafail, adding that the business won't flood the network with cheap devices by selling more than it could afford for less than it costs.
The new marketing campaign being rolled out on free-to-air television and on bus stops, promises people coverage everywhere, as the carrier improves deep 3G in-building coverage thanks to a low-frequency network play, and it also promises speed with its prized 20MHz of continuous spectrum in the 4G band.
There's also a great take-up of its international roaming service now thanks to $5 per day offers. 75 per cent more people are using data overseas since the new Red Roaming deal came into effect.
Overall, Vodafone is a company on the upswing. But does it really feel like that in the wild?
More and more people may be are signing-up (including yours truly) to the Red baron because of good SIM-only deals, handset offers and data bonuses, but every time I tell someone I'm on Vodafone, their face squints like I have just force-fed them a lemon.
Vodafone is doing everything it can to shed the stigma of Vodafail, and that will be the last hurdle the company needs to vault to get back to being great.
What would you do if you were running Vodafone to get people back on board and happy with the brand again?