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Bad mobile phone and slowband in Canberra?

By 1337Hax0r - 30 June 2012 23

I am wondering if anyone else out there has been experiencing woeful reception from Vodaphone? I have both a mobile phone and mobile slowband with them. It is supposed to be broadband, but I’ve done online tests, and 4 kilobytes per second (kbs) is dial up speed. I used to own a 56k dial up modem in days of old. Not sure if that was 56 kbs or kbm but it was pretty good for the day. My so called broadband has never gone above 40 kbs and rarely manages more than 14 kbs.  I often have to disconnect and reconnect just to download basic stuff after 6pm.

My mobile phone is just as bad. I have repeatedly received text messages to let me know I have a voice mail only to listen to the voice mail to find that they call was missed just a minute before when the phone was in my pocket, and on. This has happened in the heart of civic, in inner city suburbs, on the bus, out at Queanbeyan, in Woden Mall, all places you would expect excellent reception.

I spoke to a Vodaphone sales person about this who admitted off the record that Vodaphone have limited transponders in Canberra which essentially means limited lines. So if they are all in use they can’t make another phone connection, and calls get routed to voicemail. Plus they know they make money off of the voice mails, and with Canberra being a ‘marginal market’ compared to larger cities, they won’t invest in infrastructure. This is also why the Internet is manageable during the day, but in the evening from 6pm when people start to log on to the Internet it slows down. It is like water pressure through a thin pipe. With a few people on, the band with is reasonable, but in the evening it just drips, at a speed no one can use. I’m sure those Vodaphone mobile users know what I am speaking about. This is even more annoying as I used to be on 3, and they told me to move to Vodaphone because they were shutting down 3. That was slow, but Vodaphone have been slower.

I’ve rang them, emailed them, and visited their stores (hence the salesman’s candid admission) and the situation has still not improved. This is pissing me off because I’ve missed calls for job leads and have been unable to open emails from recruitment companies for a day or two. It is time to move on and request a refund from Vodaphone.

So what have other people’s experiences with mobile broadband, and mobile coverage in Canberra? Which company are you with? Are you happy with the coverage and speed? Are there issues with missed calls, drop outs, or other problems? What is their customer service like when things do go wrong? What is your overall customer satisfaction with them?

What’s Your opinion?

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23 Responses to
Bad mobile phone and slowband in Canberra?
Rawhide Kid Part3 11:34 am 01 Jul 12

Oh for the good old days of Analog Mobile Phone coverage………..

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 9:06 am 01 Jul 12

LSWCHP said :

I received an SMS from Vodafone two weeks ago informing me that there might be some service disruptions between 21-23 June as they were upgrading the system in my area.

To my amazement, given how utterly, utterly crap their service has been, there does seem to have been some improvement in terms of coverage and download speed.

Of course, the improvement has just taken it from “complete crap” to “frequently crap”.


Yep, Vodafone is the worst.

Gungahlin_Bob 8:54 am 01 Jul 12

@Jim Charles

I was the author of the thread …..

I started with them (after migrating from 3) in February and I spent the last three months reviewing the coverage, signal strength in various areas of Canberra.

As the thread mentions, some strong concerns and inconsistencies on the public information provided by Vodafone.

I have been released from my contract (changing over today), based on information that I have provided to Vodafone about the signal strength in my home area as well as several other areas (e.g. work). I found that I was getting signal from three towers, all of a marginal signal. I provided this information with the signal strength from each in the facts that I provided to them.

There definitely has been a lack of prioritisation over the last year in the ACT, especially on the North side, and also around Tuggeranong/Kambah areas, and in particular with the 850Mhz upgrades (which are important as this signal is the more likely signal to get to these “borderline” locations).

Now having said this, in the last month or so, I am noticing in areas that I have taken a great deal of notice in previously, that Vodafone appears to be performing upgrades. I am not sure if that thread helped push it along, or ACT users really started putting some complaints in, but needless to say it is making a difference, particularly for standard phone calls.

Furthermore I should point out, that my intention is to return to Vodafone. On the whole, I have been impressed with their support. If you come up with facts, and less emotion, they generally will not be dismissed. In fact the rest of family is remaining on Vodafone. The main reason I am moving for the time being is due to on call work, and cannot be missing calls which are critical.

So before you go the TIO, just put a little work into your situation detailing your issues. Use their online forms (which allow you to attach a document). If they don’t respond in a positive manner, then of course go to the TIO, and you have met the requirements of the TIO which is to approach the carrier first.


PrinceOfAles 12:44 am 01 Jul 12

Buckaroo_Banzai said :

I live inner north, and work in civic, and those are where vodafone seemed to be at it’s worst.

I live in the inner north and my Vodafone is fine for both phone and internet now. 18 months to 2 years ago the internet was worse than woeful but the phone was still ok.

LSWCHP 9:53 pm 30 Jun 12

I received an SMS from Vodafone two weeks ago informing me that there might be some service disruptions between 21-23 June as they were upgrading the system in my area.

To my amazement, given how utterly, utterly crap their service has been, there does seem to have been some improvement in terms of coverage and download speed.

Of course, the improvement has just taken it from “complete crap” to “frequently crap”.


niftydog 9:47 pm 30 Jun 12

Careful of the confusion around the units.

A 56k modem has a theoretical max line speed of 56kb/s – kiloBITS per second. The actual data download speed will never reach that – an awesome day for me used to be maybe 20kb/s.

I just did a test with my Vodafone connected mobile and got a download speed of 126KB/s – kiloBYTES per second. (My lounge room isn’t a great location for 3G but several subsequent tests have all been above 75KB/s.)

There are 8 bits in a byte, though it’s not as simple as saying KB/s is 8 times as fast as kb/s.

Spykler 9:30 pm 30 Jun 12

Have real issues with Vodafone…Live in Crace and have a 60% success rate sending a text message…Occassionally have no service at all and at least twice a day get the ‘SOS only’ warning in the top right of the phone. Have never had full reception in Canberra..
Also, lucky to get reception at all where I work…Others with Optus/Telstra have coverage…Frustrating as I switched from Optus only last year.

Mr Evil 2:51 pm 30 Jun 12

It seems to me that when Vodafone bought out 3, things really started to go downhill from there. I nearly switched to Vodafone a couple of years ago, but after all the hassles friends have had with them, I’m glad I stayed where I was.

And the fact they’re doing their network upgrades with PLA Huawei, doesn’t give me much faith in their judgement……

I am with Telstra. Yeah their customer service can be bad at times and they seem to be a little dearer than some of the other telcos – but my mobile always works whenever I need it for voice and/or data.

The only time that I’ve noticed I couldn’t get very good reception with Telstra was when visiting friends in Wamboin; but apparently that is pretty much a blackspot for all carriers out there.

arescarti42 2:09 pm 30 Jun 12

I use liveconnected, which is a re-seller of the Optus network. $12 a month gets me 1.5gb of data and more calls and texts than I ever come close to using, I’ve been very happy with them so far. Their contracts are also month to month, so you can cancel them without incurring nasty fees.

The Optus network itself I’ve found to be pretty good, I don’t have issues with coverage or internet speeds anywhere in Canberra, however it is usually not as good as the Telstra network in remote and regional areas.

Buckaroo_Banzai 1:10 pm 30 Jun 12

I had same issues for ages. Went through months of complaints with them telling me they’ll escalate to ‘network engineers’ to diagnose the problem. Eventually my contract ended and i went prepaid with woolies mobile which runs on optus network. It’s not always 100%, but it’s a heap better than vodafone. The correct way to get out of any contract is to complain to vodafone. Try and get them to fix the issue. Looks like you’ve already done this step. Next is to escalate it with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), a free service for indiduals. State that the only resolution you will accept is to be let out of all contracts for free with no penalties. Vodafone will then offer discounted or free months to stay with them. Ignore all that, demand free exit. Eventually they’ll do it as every TIO escalation costs them money and looks bad for them in the TIO’s reports.

I live inner north, and work in civic, and those are where vodafone seemed to be at it’s worst.

goggles13 12:20 pm 30 Jun 12

have no issues with my Vodafone mobile, both calls and internet. I live and work southside. maybe part of your issue is that you might be with a dodgy carrier. never heard of vodaphone, only Vodafone.

FioBla 12:20 pm 30 Jun 12

I’ll summarise:

It’s Vodafone (not meant to be a reference to your spelling).

The best way to be satisfied, is to lower your expectations.

JimCharles 12:16 pm 30 Jun 12

Worth a read…something is going on with them round here, looks like de-prioritisation.

ThatGuy 12:12 pm 30 Jun 12

I left Vodafone for that exact reason, well that and another couple of monumental f-ups. Going to the TIO resulted in getting my partner and I out of our contracts without any penalties. No chains involved.

Went to Amaysim who piggy back Optus. Occasionally their coverage is a bit average, but at least I actually receive phone calls at home now rather than the old Vodafone special (voicemail message for something that never rang due to bad coverage).

Rawhide Kid Part3 11:31 am 30 Jun 12

iiNet…. They also provide a Mobile sim which operates on the OPTUS network. On for two and a half years now no problems. And great customer service if you do have any problems.

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