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Edit : Vodafone : Happy to Help!

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I don’t think most will disagree when I say that the state of mobile network infrastructure in the country is really poor. Post the 3G era most have struggled to make phone calls let alone get impressive data speeds.

We recall the time of 2G, where the network bars were always at full and there was little or no dropped calls.We can safely recall what a challenge it was when we shifted from 2G to 3G last year to enjoy the so called “high speed access on our Smartphones”. 

I personally have been a Vodafone user for as far back as I can remember ( Vodafone was called Hutch prior to this and Essar before that) and I never really had a complaint with the services provided. I usually fully exploit warranties and customer care of every product and service to their fullest, to ensure that  guidelines of  quality of any product or service bought by me are met. 

[pullquote_right] the past year had been pure turmoil[/pullquote_right]Vodafone was good to me, their network was strong and at one point of time they even had this wonderful Rs. 1899 plan where there was no limit calling and data usage (2G). However, the past year had been pure turmoil, not only at home but for everyone at the office. With no signal in a place like my bedroom, or my office, making a phone call was like fighting a war on the battle field. I literally can remember twisting and turning my phone to get a good reception, peeping out the window and even vodafone 3gjumping out to the balcony for hours to be on conference calls. The call drop numbers were phenomenal, in August itself I had more than 800 calls that lasted no longer than 4 seconds = dropped calls apart from other call drops that happened during a conversation. Not only was it inconvenient it was frustrating.

Although, most of the members in my house use either Airtel and or services like Dolphin (MTNL), I was not keen on switching over my main Vodafone number to another network. But this time around the water had gone through the roof, if that may be a correct term. I was unable to make a sustained phone call on my main number affecting not only personal but work connections as well. 

[pullquote_left]MNP came to the rescue[/pullquote_left]Since I need multiple sims for reviews,MNP came to the rescue I switched over one of our numbers to Dolphin and another to Airtel to see any changes in network. After the 10-14 day process I was shocked to see there was really no improvement. Infact it was so bad that Dolphin’s 3G network would disappear while I was getting a call, resulting in a phone crash on the ringer screen.

This is where iGyaan instincts kicked in and I found it as a great opportunity to test the customer service of all three of these network providers. Here is how it all happened in a matter of two months.

1st call Standard customer care numbers:

Vodafone  : “We are sorry for the issues faced we will arrange a call back from our network team”

Airtel  : “We have not received any other such complaint! please try changing your phone, if the problem persists visit Airtel store to change your SIM”

Dolphin : “Aisa hi hai network sabka kya karein” (Everyone is facing network issues, what can we do ?) [pullquote_right]”Aisa hi hai network sabka kya karein”[/pullquote_right]

While Dolphin’s response was truly expected, Airtel’s was not, especially because their landline customer support is simply awesome. 

Two days later on the Vodafone Number I got a call from the network engineer who said : “we are facing major network issues in the area you stay in, and unluckily in your office area as well”. He added “we are trying to set up the tower to fix your home network area, but the office area wouldn’t be fixed by the end of the year”.

As I was not expecting any calls from the other two parties, I decided to make my second call:

Vodafone :”Our engineers have confirmed that your areas are affected by poor networks and our teams are working to fix them soon” He added “the only solution I can offer is that we can send you a replacement SIM card, which might improve your network till this problem is resolved”

Airtel : “If you have changed your SIM and tried another phone I will ask a senior to call you back”

Dolphin : “Sanchaar hut mein ja ke written mein complain kar di-jiye ” (Please visit the MTNL Sanchaar Hut and give a written complaint)

I opted for the replacement SIM card from Vodafone, asked Airtel to arrange a call back and submitted a written complaint at the area’s “Sanchaar Hut” for Dolphin. While Vodafone sent a replacement SIM the very next day, I never got a call back from Airtel. Surprisingly, I did get a call from a Dolphin manager a couple of days later, and he claimed that if I opt for a 2G SIM vs a 3G SIM (since I don’t use data on that number) my network would improve considerably. But, since MTNL is now purely selling 3G sims, he said he might be able to arrange one 2G SIM for me within a week.

[pullquote_left]didn’t expect a new SIM to work[/pullquote_left]Fifteen days later, there was no improvement in the Vodafone Network ( I didn’t expect a new SIM to work anyway) and no call back from Airtel or Dolphin, I decided to make final contact, But this time to Nodal offices of all three.

I wrote up a crisp mail, added all the issues and communications along with my case ID’s and sent individual mails to all three Nodal Offices of the networks. I also marked the Airtel’s mail to their 121 email id. 

This is where the picture began to clear up, Vodafone nodal office replied immediately as if it was an automated reply, but it was personal and included all relevant details along with a promise of a call back with a resolution.

Airtel 121 replied stating, that they will look into the matter and come out with a resolution soon enough. There was no reply from Dolphin, and honestly I didn’t expect one either.

Vodafone had escalated my complaint to the Appellate office where a lady named Shweta called me back and offered a resolution : ” We can provide you with a personal network booster which will connect to you cell phone improving the network of your device” she explained. I informed her that many people in our office use Vodafone numbers and we cannot all be linked to multiple of these antennas, and besides I do not wish to convert my cell phone into a land line phone by linking it to a wire. 

She then explained that she would speak within the office and try and arrange for a Vodafone Mobile booster for the Home as well as the Office affected. Then began the process of multiple mails between Vodafone and me. Throughout this whole process I was updated of the status of my case, via email or or on the phone by professional people, who spoke well  and to the point with accurate information. Soon after the exchanges, a network engineer visited both locations and a week later the installation team came with all the equipment, assembled it at our locations and got the booster running.  The booster consists of a antenna on the roof, a network amplifier and indoor antennas which enhance the indoor signal. 

[pullquote_right]Professionally wired, carefully cladded and tagged the boosters were installed [/pullquote_right] Professionally wired, carefully cladded and tagged the boosters were installed without affecting the aesthetics of my home or my office. Funnily enough even after all this, there was no improvement in the signal. The Vodafone engineer who came for the installation explained : ” Sir aap do din use karo yeh network pakad lega” (Sir use it for two days, it will automatically register to the network). While I smirked at the thought of the amplifier taking two days to “catch the signal”, I agreed to wait for the said time.

It has effectively been 2 weeks since the Vodafone boosters were installed at our locations, and I can safely say that I have had, but one dropped call. The booster did start to work within two days and has improved the signal to the extent that there are no more choppy calls or “called failed” messages on my Vodafone phone.

I still have not received any calls from Airtel or even a response from Dolphin for my complaints. While the booster has improved Dolphin’s network as well, Airtel remains unaffected, possibly due to different frequencies. 

[pullquote_left]Never intended to be a review[/pullquote_left]At the end, this was never intended to be a review, or a bias of any sort. I have hated 3G services from Vodafone and they are still as bad, even with the booster installed. This is because the booster only boosts voice networks and not data, and Shweta informed me that there is no data booster available at Vodafone, else they would have installed that for us aswell. No other provider stepped forward to offer a resolution where as Vodafone installed multiple boosters costing great amounts each, at both our locations. They didn’t charge us a penny and the voice network is now excellent.

For that we rate Vodafone’s Customer Care an A+.

And for our scenario at least – They were really happy to help!

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About The Author
Bharat Nagpal
Founder and Chief Editor of iGyaan. Bharat likes to keep on top of technology ! Follow Him on Google Plus : Google+
  • rahulpv102

    Seriously Bharat.The only reason that stops me from porting out from Vodafone is their excellent customer care and network.Their plans are expensive.But then they provide their worth.Once I subscribed to a 1 Gb 3g plan from a Dolphin Number and to my surprise,Vodafone GPRS was faster every time.And once i needed GPRS settings for my old Dolphin number.I called customer care and they said,”Abhi lunch time hai.baad me phone karo.” Ridiculous.In the end i still prefer Vodafone.Had their plans been cheaper,they would undoubtedly be the number one provider in India.

  • Pushkar Singh

    I used to have Airtel at a particular time (ie before the MNP era began). Their voice networks were absolutely choppy (it didn’t even connect well to their customer care), and also, they used to cut humongous amount of money as VAS even when they were not requested by me. There was this particular instance, when I had Rs. 100 in my balance. They continued to cut buck by buck, until I had 20 Rs, without any calls or SMS or data usage.  After e-mails and dropped calls to Airtel, I decided to change since MNP was approaching. It looked like they decided to halt their assault for a while, as I got to Rs 4 in my balance after some usage. But then, as they were, they even cut of Rs 4, and hence I threw my SIM and moved to the since then, the good and peaceful !dea.

  • Dionysius

    This is my experience with vodafone.. the first level (i.e. the trenches) is never good..cause these people are not trained to dig around and resolve technical issues..i also had a bad experience with one of their supervisors who was not helpful at all and even blocked my number after i lodged a complaint with the nodal officer..but the nodal officer was very prompt and resolved my issue in quick time.  so i’m sticking with vodafone as i’ve had bad experience with other phone companies.

  • Vasanth

    In Bangalore, when i moved to my new apartment on the city outskirts some 4 year ago, i started to experience the call drops inside my home. Called vodafone and explained them the problem. And just like in your case, with in two weeks, they installed the booster at my home and from then on the network inside the home is excellent. Kudo’s to vodafone for ensuring that the customer is taken care. In karnataka as vodafone doesn’t have direct license for 3G, they use airtel’s 3G network which sucks big time. I reverted back to 2G network with in a month and am happy with the speed i get in that.
     
    With the latest government directive which limited the power from the mobile towers, the call drops, network busy messages are becoming very common all over the city with vodafone. Any else also experiencing the same with vodafone or other networks? Cheers

  • manjul

    3G experience is really horrendous and the funnier side is although they claim 3G is cheaper now, whatever be the cost, if the network tower says zero, even if it is free, 3G will always be a doomed service. Airtel has seriously degraded over the last couple of months. The apathy is such that, in Hyderabad, even if you dare to call customer care after much waiting from IVR, they hesitate to talk in Hindi and sometimes even english ! I faced such situations for quite a few times. only Telegu Sir ! WTF ! :-@

  • MohammedSaadRiaz

    i use reliance gsm sim(hyderabad). the experience is truly horrible! i would suggest this network to my worst enemy! if u wanna see to wat extent somebody could frustrate u den switch over to reliance gsm (hyderabad).. i bet u’ll be frustrated till u drop!!! gruesome experience!!! nd if by chance u use 2g gprs on this network den be ready to be served wid the sevice as and wen d company wishes!! if u r on an 1gb pack for a month den u would be alloed access only an hour or two(if u r lucky) in the entire day!!!
    huh finally got a platform to vent all my frustration… thanx bharat!!!! am a regular follower of this website!!!

    • @MohammedSaadRiaz make the switch, with MNP really easy and effective dump the suckers and try a new one. make sure you research to whats better, you don’t want to get stuck with something worse!

      • MohammedSaadRiaz

        @Bharat Nagpal  @MohammedSaadRiaz yeah bharat!!! would like to congratulate not just bharat but the entire team of igyaan!!! not all bloggers of tech site reply to their viewer!!! Great job team setting a new standards!!! day after day!!!

  • Harsh Khurana

    Vodafone is the best in customer service i agree

  • callrecall911

    Did you mention anywhere that you work at igyaan?I seriously doubt that they will provide a booster for everyone who complaints, even though you escalate it to the nodal level. That said, Airtel has become too complacent of late.
    I’m using Aircel since the past year and am pretty satisfied with the efforts they are putting in. But, the customer care is notoriously difficult to deal with! :(

    • @callrecall911 never!  in-fact all communications were done from a gmail email ID. That being said they did agree to installing booster only after collecting a series of vodafone numbers being used at the location.

  • AjithAravind

    I had a real problem with Tata Docomo 3g stick. i had to contact the Nodal officer and now the problem is solved. Rest of the customer service team were not at all helpful

  • AjithAravind

    I had a real problem with Tata Docomo 3g stick. i had to contact the Nodal officer and now the problem is solved.