Vodafone today launch its NBN service for customers in in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Geelong & Newcastle.
Following months of preparation, and a successful pilot for a lucky few, Vodafone NBN services are now available for sale online, or by talking to staff in stores near the eligible connection areas. Vodafone plans to expand the reach of the network to the other Australian capital cities soon.
As a bonus, Vodafone NBN plans are offered with the first three months free, for a limited time.
Vodafone NBN plans start from $70 per month with no setup costs. The 4G WiFi Hub is $150 on no contract plans, or free when you choose a 24 month contract.
The company's tentative approach to its NBN rollout extends to the customer level too, where new customers are offered a 30-day Network Satisfaction Guarantee, allowing anyone dissatisfied with the service to leave without exit fees.
As well, Vodafone will monitor speeds for customers on Fibre to the Node and Fibre to the Basement connections to make sure that customers are not overpaying for faster speed plans where technical limitations make it impossible to attain these speeds.
"The copper network has a maximum speed which can be lower than 100Mbps, can be lower than even 50Mbps, and you don't know if that's the case until after the connection occurs," said Matthew Lobb, Vodafone General Manager for Broadband Services.
This is a hot topic at the moment after Telstra and Optus recently agreed to refund tens of thousands of NBN customers who had been paying for NBN speeds that they couldn't achieve because of the infrastructure connecting their homes.
"What Optus and Telstra weren't doing was taking proactive steps to make sure [their customers] were on a plan matching the speed they were getting,"
"From the outset we're committing to doing that. After the connection, we'll check the copper network to confirm the maximum attainable speed. In the rare circumstances where you can't [get the speed you're paying for] we'll call you and ask you what you would like to do."
To safeguard the customer experience, the Vodafone WiFi Hub has been tweaked so that it will automatically switch to a 4G connection when the NBN connection drops-out. Announced earlier this year, the WiFi Hub is a dual 4G and NBN modem router originally pitched as a way of getting customers online while they wait for their new NBN service to be activated.
But following feedback from customer trials, the Vodafone team has adjusted the modem so that it will automatically take over the connection with unlimited 4G data until faults are fixed and service is restored.
"Previously you had to call us to get the 4G turned on, but we moved to this approach because we found that the 4G Backup is so useful and customer really appreciate having the backup service." said Lobb.