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Doubts and confusion after Vodafone “fix” Norfolk signal problems

06:30 05 April 2013

Bewilderment and frustration have followed Vodafone’s announcement that the company has fixed persistent mobile phone signal problems in Norfolk.

Vodafone claimed yesterday morning to have identified a problem affecting angry users across a wide swathe of the county over the Easter period, and to have corrected the fault by 9pm on Wednesday.

But north Norfolk customers in Southrepps, Stibbard, Sheringham, and Fulmodeston were still reporting difficulties yesterday.

At 4.30pm a Vodafone spokesman appeared to alter the timing of the fix, telling the EDP that the fault had been repaired “before 4pm today.”

And one dissatisfied Upper Sheringham user, Diane Blazier, received an email from the “Vodafone Directors Office” just before 1pm yesterday which included the sentence: “I can only apologise if you have been told conflicting information, there is as of yet no timeframe for a fix, if you have been told anything other than this then I do apologise.”

Now Vodafone has told the EDP that Norfolk campaigns against phone masts have not helped the problem.

The latest batch of confusing messages from Vodafone comes as more than 870 Norfolk users have registered their exasperation with the company by signing a protest petition organised by the North Norfolk Labour Party.

Comments by those who have signed suggest that Vodafone’s customer relations in the county are nearing meltdown.

Chris Mason, from Dereham, says: “I pay £30 a month to Vodafone and the signal I receive on my phone is non existent. Where else would a company be able to charge for a service they are unable to provide?”

Beccy Matthews, Aylsham: “I have had nothing but problems with the signal and above all the customer service has been appalling over the last seven months.” Stephen Harvey, Little Snoring: “Many parts of the day I have no signal from my home where we do B&B and self-catering barns and need a regular service which I pay for.”

Siobhan Kent, Taverham: “Never have signal, constantly moving around the house to find some. Even when I do, it’s gone as quick as I blink and then I’ll have signal in the place I didn’t before.”

Allan Pink, Little Ryburgh: “No Vodafone reception is available in my home village. I would suggest that a new mast need siting in this area.”

Chris Wright, North Walsham: “As a business user with 25 phones on the Vodafone network we are finding it increasingly difficult to justify our loyalty to what used to be the best coverage in the area.”

Ben Woodcock, 25, who lives in Southrepps, near Cromer, where he is a parish councillor, said he got up yesterday pleased at the news that Vodafone had fixed the problem. “But I still couldn’t get any signal at all,” said Mr Woodcock.

Later in the afternoon his phone registered one bar while he was upstairs. He said family in Fulmodeston and Stibbard had also reported that they were only getting an intermittent signal yesterday.

A Vodafone spokesman apologised to customers and said that the problem had been caused by a failed link where the chain of local radio base station sites joined the network.

She said they would need specific post codes to check why some customers were still not receiving a service yesterday and that, as with all technology, it was impossible to guarantee a fault-free service.

“We know how frustrating this is but we have been working hard to get these sites up and running as soon as we could,” she added. “We are concerned – it’s in our interest, as well as our customers’ interest, to make sure our services are available. We understand that, as in other rural areas, coverage could be better.

“It’s sometimes difficult to get planning permission to build masts – there have been press campaigns in the past to ‘put masts on hold’ in Norfolk – but we are hoping that our network sharing agreement with O2 will bring improvements to more rural areas over time.”

13 comments

  • Its Dereham that needs sorting out in my opinion, Its ridiculous

    Report this comment

    Jamie Moulding

    Friday, April 5, 2013

  • It is good to see that the appalling local service provided by Vodafone is finally getting some attention - a petition from the Labour Party -must be an election coming!. People like myself in this village (Gunthorpe) have been complaining for many years - both in writing and verbally - all to no avail - letters were never answered. There has never been an adequate service in the lower part of the village. Unless things have changed the service on the coast at, say, Blakeney is also patchy to non-existent. I joined Vodafone when I was still in business, and this was the "preferred" network. The coverage map claims that we have good coverage here - this is total nonsense. Thus although I think I am wasting my time I will join others in calling on Vodafone to urgently resolve all the problems in North Norfolk, and I want to see an improvement in correspondence with customers. From personal experience I know that it is easier to get coverage deep in the mountains of Crete compared with coverage in this part of the world.

    Report this comment

    JB

    Friday, April 5, 2013

  • This is the best reply from Vodafone yet! 664 Gail Hartshorne Erpingham I bought a new phone in January with 250 free calls per month. I havent been able to make one! Reception is non existant in north Norfolk. My husband rang Vodaphone and was told that it was due to the very hilly nature of Norfolk!

    Report this comment

    peewit47

    Friday, April 5, 2013

  • They have always been patchy some more than others. Why don't people check before they sign up with a certain provider? Whatever did people do before mobiles?

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Friday, April 5, 2013

  • 'we have got sites up and running as quick as possible' well we have had trouble for months is that what they call as quick as possible.

    Report this comment

    kaz

    Friday, April 5, 2013

  • John I think you've misunderstood the problem here. For many of these customers (and for many years) there has been no problem receiving five bars of signal on their phones. Because of Vodafone's failure to plan a replacement mast in Sheringham, and continuing errors with equipment elsewhere, this is now not possible. It's not as simple as moving to another network if you're in a contract and they refuse to let you leave.

    Report this comment

    Jono

    Friday, April 5, 2013

  • It is good to see that the appalling local service provided by Vodafone is finally getting some attention - a petition from the Labour Party -must be an election coming!. People like myself in this village (Gunthorpe) have been complaining for many years - both in writing and verbally - all to no avail - letters were never answered. There has never been an adequate service in the lower part of the village. Unless things have changed the service on the coast at, say, Blakeney is also patchy to non-existent. I joined Vodafone when I was still in business, and this was the "preferred" network. The coverage map claims that we have good coverage here - this is total nonsense. Thus although I think I am wasting my time I will join others in calling on Vodafone to urgently resolve all the problems in North Norfolk, and I want to see an improvement in correspondence with customers. From personal experience I know that it is easier to get coverage deep in the mountains of Crete compared with coverage in this part of the world.

    Report this comment

    JB

    Friday, April 5, 2013

  • Yes, it's terribly confusing, I mean why isn't Ann Steward claiming credit for the "fix"?

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Friday, April 5, 2013

  • Change provider. Simple to do nowadays and you can keep your number :)

    Report this comment

    Adante

    Friday, April 5, 2013

  • Have had mobile with vodafone for years it has only been in last few months that we have had such dreadful signal. The lies and misinformation given out by vodafone and the companies that piggy back their masts are obviously a cover up for a recent and serious problem. I particularly liked the excuse. Owing to the hilly nature of Norfolk Could any MOD masts be involved?

    Report this comment

    Reader

    Friday, April 5, 2013

  • Sign the petition at vodafonenfk.com

    Report this comment

    ElMac

    Friday, April 5, 2013

  • I have had a vodafone mobile in Brundall for 12 years and have never been able to receive more than a 3 bar reception. When I lived in Watford I always had a maximum signal [5 bar]. I made enquiries regarding the strength and was told it was OK. OK my foot.

    Report this comment

    dp.andrews

    Friday, April 5, 2013

  • Its Dereham that needs sorting out in my opinion, Its ridiculous

    Report this comment

    Jamie Moulding

    Friday, April 5, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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