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Vodafone AU falls on Easter Sunday

Network down, carrier crucified

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Australian Vodafone customers enjoyed a unique Easter Sunday gift from their network provider of choice as a network glitch prevented users from sending or receiving text messages. The unexplained seven hour outage caused customers to vent their rage across all social media channels available with the term ‘Vodafail’ maintaining top trending topic status on Twitter well into Monday morning.

"From 14:30 AEST 24/04/2011 to 21:34 AEST 24/04/2011 Users may have experienced difficulties in sending SMS. We apologise to customers for the inconvenience," Vodafone said on its customer support website. Vodafone services had been fully restored by late Sunday night.

But apologies were not what customers wanted, with the resounding sentiment from social media angst demanding an explanation for the ongoing network service disruption.

The carrier’s Community forum page was inundated with complaints over Vodafone’s general customer service.

Vodarage posts like this were common: “I have had a gutful this month after not only network issues, call drop-outs, lack of mobile internet coverage, but also some of the worst in-store customer service I have ever come across…. We have to write long posts like this to feel heard. We have to join sites like Vodafail or create lawsuits or approach ombudsmen. Is this not telling you something?

"When are you going to be a brand which your customers would defend and recommend? Your reputation is in the toilet for a reason. You don't listen. You don't empathise and act accordingly. You create customer systems based on your own profit and convenience, not your customers' needs. We hate your service.”

Vodafone community manager Tim_H could not offer much solace in return and failed to explain the reasons behind the outage: “I appreciate the civility shown during the outage, and your comments allow us to more quickly identify the scope and impact of a fault like this one. At this stage there is no further information available to me regarding the cause of the outage, when that changes I'll happily share it with you here.”

Earlier this month Vodafone announced that it was upgrading its network to a 4G LTE platform and had instigated an overhaul of its network equipment swapping out its Ericsson base station gear with Huawei equipment. ®

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