An open letter from Justin Cook of Arrow Private Hire to Vodafone

Written by Justin Cook on .

Graham Dunn
Senior Government Affairs Manager
Govrnment Affairs
Vodafone Limited

Dear Mr Dunn,

With a heavy heart I write to you concerning complete loss of service today of Vodafone in the Marlborough town.  A couple of years ago I ran a successful campaign called "Nodafone" where your company was selling 3G phones when we only had a 2G mast in Marlborough.  Happily you quite rightly changed the mast from 2G to 3G/4g ready mast and the community in Marlborough finally had 3G although at a very limited data download rate but we did have 3G and for that I wish to thank your company.

With Guy Laurence leaving the helm of the company last year I was hoping for a more transparent and effective culture for your end user experience, alas it seems this has not happened as most Vodafone customers in the central area have no service at all today and are furious about it quite rightly.  This is not an isolated incident and has been happening quite a lot of late.

I see now on the endless threads of conversations on FB that there seems to be some maintenance programme being carried out today and as a result there will be no service ’til 18:00hrs!  We all understand that routine maintenance has to be carried out from time to time but not letting your customer know is simply slap dash customer service.  Your company can easily text/call its customers to chase them for payment or the latest offers so why cant you text/call them prior to the service being down the day before so people can make alternative arrangements.  For example a member of the Facebook community in Marlborough has just given me permission to tell their story(there are many others too from many other Vodafone customers).

I choose xxxxxxx's story as it demonstrates how vital it is that the network service is to some as she  has a disabled son aged two years old.  This little fella has some serious medical issues to contend with in life including having a hickman line, tube fed, cerebal palsy and short bowel syndrome.  At any time if the little fella needs help Mary has to call Bristol Hospital to assist her.  So today for instance if the little fella runs into problems she has to call and be able to be called by Bristol Hospital, this obviously can't happen relying on the Vodafone network.  Vodafone knowing that their will be a service outage today should by all common sense thinking notify their customers the day before so they can make alternative arrangements, would you not agree Mr Dunn that your company could notify their customers the day before any service outage?  Its only fair considering you have the technology at hand and this would increase the end users understanding and good will towards your company.

I appreciate that the mast in question that seems to always present problems is the one located in the Froxfield area, the one that runs the signal through the valley and onto Marlborough central area.  I also know from Jane Frapwell’s guidance last time that you have tried to remedy this before by basing a booster mast in Marlborough but the previous Marlborough Town Council denied planning for this to happen.  There is a new town council in place now that hopefully they would not take the same view as things have changed now and mobile/data is a priority for all residents and businesses based in rural communities and so I would encourage you to look at this option again as this just can't carry on, the residents will not stand for it and nor will I as a long term Vodafone user myself.

I have written this as an open letter and will of course circulate (it) to local media outlets both physical and print as it seems without doing this, your company never seems to care or do anything to remedy the situation.  Please help us once and for all with this outstanding issue.

I have not put your direct contact numbers both landline and mobile on this open letter as I don't think this has reached critical mass yet, but we are close and I will not hesitate to turn the heat up on this issue if there is not some noticeable change with both the service and customer experience in the very near future.


Justin Cook
Arrow Private Hire Ltd