Vodafone 3G Mobile Broadband: Painful. Poor software, poor support.

I was fedup with chasing Wifi points in Europe; and although I have a Blackberry on O2 with roaming inclusive, I wanted a data card for 3G access bundled.

The only provider with bundled European data rates was Vodafone, business tariff. £70 a month, unlimited UK use with 200mb inclusive European roaming.

Heres my incredibly frustrating experience in bullet point form:

  1. Order device/contract
  2. Arrives 10 days later
  3. Install into Vista
  4. Doesnt work; try reinstall, try everything
  5. Eventually download latest Mobile Connect software; it then works
  6. Go to Germany. Doesnt work or connect. Another 6 HOURS wasted trying to get it to work.
  7. Call VF support – this is where the fun begins:
  8. Get cut off
  9. Get transferred
  10. Speak to a girl
  11. She says its because the roaming is barred (Ive just opened the account!!!!)
  12. She unbars the account
  13. I cant then connect to E-plus, but not to Vodafone
  14. She cant tell me where to configure the software, because she doesnt have the version I have, on her system. We go around in circles for 45 minutes. She wont put me through to the technical team, so instead I get put on hold every two minutes and we have a circular, protracted conversation
  15. Eventually, I give up.
  16. E-plus is allowing me to connect, Vodafone will not. How can my OWN network refuse connection but E-plus accept, if its because of a bar.
  17. She says its because of the signal. This is rubbish- IM IN THE MIDDLE OF BERLIN! I check my phone, sure enough I have strong VF signal. Not only that, but the mobile connect software shows VF listed, but wont allow connection.

So in summary, I was being told I could not connect to Vodafone because of the bar taking time to filter off (even though I can connect to a roaming partner – whom I will get charged for) yet ALSO that the signal is not strong enough (in the centre of Berlin…) So clearly, on both counts, rubbish.

The only choice I have is to wait and see if it is because of the bar not being listed. I’ll let you know.

Meanwhile, I have had my worst fears confirmed about mobile network operators:

  • They are still ill prepared to deal with problems and customer support issues; particularly software problems or internet
  • They still dont allow any direct contact with people who can actually have a sensible conversation – helping both parties; i.e. escalating the problem so I can talk technical with a technical person
  • I still have to pay for THEIR failures – I will be charged £25 for my HOURS LONG support call to Vodafone and I still dont have a solution to my problem.
  • Being a business customer does not improve your chances of getting good service – I still get to talk to people who are under trained, dont have the tools to help diagnose the problem and deal with grumpy customers while the technical people (who are likely paid more) sit behind a human fire wall and diagnose problems without even speaking to the person who is reporting the fault
  • Mobile Software with MNO devices is still unreliable, poorly conceived and poorly supported
  • The MNOs website are often confusing, out of date and have really useless support areas covering only basic “Im an idiot” FAQs and solutions. I twice, via Google, found woefully outdated software on Vodafones site, claiming to be the latest version.
  • Microsoft Vista is still a nightmare and causes more problems than it solves. I’ll be switching to Linux, ASAP.

All in all, I really shit experience with Vodafone, after a 8 year period with O2, I certainly feel no reason to take my main mobile phone account back to the most expensive network after my experience with their data card … They are supposed to have the best coverage, right? Apparently, not in central Berlin.

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7 thoughts on “Vodafone 3G Mobile Broadband: Painful. Poor software, poor support.

  1. Other considerations include how often and how much you download from the internet. Those who like to download regularly may find landline broadband a cheaper option until mobile broadband downloading prices fall.

  2. I bought a Vodaphone 3G USB device in March. It worked great for the first couple of months but now I can barely get any bandwidth. My download rate is reduced to 0-15kb/s, mainly 0.
    I have tried phoning the help lines and get cut off after selecting the correct buttons on the automated answer. I ignored the instructions and selected a different set of options and got through to a call centre in India. Unless.
    I am going to cancel, as far as I am concerned the service in next to usless.

  3. Much the same experience with constant disconnects and then failing to “register computer on network” error 619.
    Helpdesk not much use …and now to cap it all i have just been unable to check uk lottery results as this site is barred unless i prove my age as over 18…thought i did this when i brought the “service” in the vodfone shop..i need to logon to vodafone website. pain in the proverbial.
    don’t bother with this service i will be getter rid of soon. the fon network is growing and has many hotspots in populated areas now which is where you only get 3g connections anyway.

  4. My Vodafon G3 is also Useles because it is so slow and for £15 a mounth is bloody Robbery? what can I do????! Yours trully Iam in the Farnborough and Plymouth and thay did a servey first to cheque the areas?

  5. I’ve got vodaphone usb, I’m getting full 3g+ signal and connecting but vodaphone won’t return my comm in 3g forcing me to manualy select 2g, which limits my download. I regularly use all my 3gb bandwith as when i have 3g its faster than my house broad band.
    i belive vodaphone are doing this deliberitaly to stop me getting my full 3gb download.
    They also have many errors and i get cut off regularly.

    I’ve informed my bank not to release my next phone bill and have no intention of paying it!

  6. Same same. Like everything in this country. You pay premium prices for rubbish service. I too have been the victim of having a call disconnected. And it had nothing to do with pressing the wrong buttons, this guy just couldn’t be bothered dealing with my complaint, so he disconnected me. I pay 25 pounds a month for a service that is not very reliable (Been trying to send an email for the past 24 hours, but due to the pathetic connection, it just wont send.) Vodafone, you need to scrap your marketing campaigns and concentrate on fixing your network, before attempting to over load your network with more unhappy customers. In short…. Stop stealing and start investing.

  7. Absolute rubbish. Started off okish when I first got it 12 months ago, but was still slow. since then it has steadily got worse and worse and worse. Forever just stops working requiring reboot, “dongle” (I hate that word) disconnection and so on. Absolute garbage, don’t bother. As with all Vodafone rubbish you will get a happy, clappy response from the customer service team no doubt based in some 3rd world sweatshop that are so beloved by uncaring unsharing companies like Vodafone.

    Avoid at all costs.

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