Vodafone CEO admits negative perceptions linger

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Vodafone CEO admits negative perceptions linger
Inaki Berroeta

Will rely on customised products, higher data to boost user figures.

Vodafone Australia's recently appointed CEO Inaki Berroeta has admitted that in spite of major investments in improving its network, the company has not yet shaken negative perceptions about the quality of its service.

The troubled telco is currently running a string of TV commercials claiming its reach covers 96 percent of Australians. That coverage is indicative of a mix of networks including 2G, 3G and its new 4G.

Vodafone is halfway through a three-year turnaround plan designed to improve the quality of the network service and stem what has been a high churn rate of customers to its competitors.

Berroeta, who recently replaced former Vodafone chief Bill Morrow following his departure to NBN Co, said his priority was to get more customers onto the telco's network, by offering better value and more services.

But he declined to recommit to Morrow's forecast of a 2014 return to subscriber growth, following years of churn charaterised by a class action lawsuit threatened but never filed last year.

Berroeta instead said he wanted a clearer view of how Vodafone was performing in the market as well as its future growth prospects before making any forecasts.

VHA’s 4G service has been launched in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth with the company claiming to have achieved one million customers on the network.

As well as building out wider coverage, the telco has focused specifically on areas which had previously been notoriously unreliable, including busy shopping centers, hospitals and train stations.

More data?

Berroeta hinted at a potential increase in data allowances within the company's product offerings, a move that would run in opposition to the trend of telecommunications companies dropping data limits.

Vodafone chief technology officer Benoit Hanssen said based on the success of Vodafone's existing data packages, there was market opportunity to offer higher data options to take 'full advantage of the company’s improved network bandwidth'.

Vodafone has also been paying closer attention to the five billion events occuring on its network daily, analysing the data to offer more "personalised and individualised" products and services.

It hopes customising a user's product to their specific usage pattern in combination with potential higher data packages will help it return to positive subscriber growth.

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