Vodafone promises money back on 30-day network satisfaction

Vodafone has announced that it will be backing up its 30-day network satisfaction guarantee with a full money-back promise.

Refunds on usage and handset repayments will now be given for customers who opt out of using the Vodafone Australia network under its 30-day network satisfaction guarantee, the telecommunications provider has announced.

Under the network guarantee launched in 2012, Vodafone initially offered customers who sign up for a plan but are not satisfied within the first 30 days to cancel their contract and only pay for what they used.

Now, it will refund all monthly access fees and device instalments that were paid by the customer during that 30-day period under the condition that the customer returns the device and equipment within 10 days of cancellation.

"As smartphones have become an essential tool in our everyday lives, we believe consumers deserve assurance that they'll have a great network experience where they live, work, and play," said Vodafone chief marketing officer Loo Fun Chee.

"And if they don't, they should be able to walk away, no questions asked. We know this is a pain point for consumers and businesses, and one we are committed to addressing."

The money-back guarantee on network satisfaction is also being offered for small business customers with up to nine connections.

Vodafone upgraded more than 3,300 network sites over the course of 2015; expanded its 4G network nationwide by purchasing AU$68 million worth of 1800MHz spectrum and refarming its 850MHz spectrum band to bring coverage to regional and metropolitan Queensland, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory; proposed to the Australian government that it be permitted to pay AU$594.3 million for 2x 10MHz in the 700MHz spectrum band that was unsold in the 2013 auction; and last month committed to spending AU$9 million on constructing 32 mobile base stations across the country to improve telecommunications coverage in regional areas.

According to an OpenSignal report from last week, Vodafone now matches Telstra in terms of the availability of its 4G network.

"Though Telstra outperformed in speed, the country's smallest operator Vodafone kept pace with the Australian giant when it came to offering a consistent LTE connection," the report said.

"Vodafone and Telstra were statistically tied in network availability, at 76 percent."

Vodafone was also tied first for 4G latency, at 54.71ms, and 3G download speeds, at 4.76Mbps, and took the prize for best 3G latency, at 72.02ms. It had the slowest download speed over 4G, however, at 18.49Mbps, while Optus stood at 19.18Mbps and Telstra at 23.6Mbps.

Vodafone began a new push for its 30-day satisfaction guarantee in April, on the heels of three major outages on Telstra's network -- the first on February 22, which affected prepaid and post-paid mobile services and was caused by "embarrassing human error"; the second on March 17, which involved an hours-long national mobile data and voice outage; and the third on March 22, which was a smaller voice outage.

Telstra has since suffered two more outages.

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