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Vodafone drops roaming charges, promises improvements to customer service

New campaign aims to address consumer feedback and rebuild ailing reputation

Vodafone drops roaming charges, promises improvements to customer service

Despite being one of the ‘big four’ mobile phone providers in the UK, Vodafone hasn’t always found it easy to keep its customers happy.

Our mobile phone provider reviews have found Vodafone to be one of the worst networks for customer satisfaction, and a recent report from Ofcom showed that more people had reason to complain about Vodafone’s service than any of the other leading mobile networks.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed, with Nick Jeffery, Vodafone’s UK CEO, saying of the new campaign: “Customers have told us they want us and the rest of the industry to change.”

It’s taken a while, but it looks like they’ve made a start.

Vodafone is keen to inform customers that they will soon be able to roam free of charge in over 40 countries with full access to data, minutes and texts without the fear of running up a hefty bill. It’s the second mobile provider to commit to the EU’s ruling on roaming charges.

The risk of drumming up a huge phone bill for the convenience of using a phone abroad is a frustration felt by tourists every year. Previously, Vodafone customers could opt into its EuroTraveller deal, which let you use your minutes, data and texts for a £3 daily fee. Now if you’re travelling in Europe you can use your phone the same way you would at home at no additional cost, but you’ll still need to pay £5 a day to use your data if you’re heading outside Europe. The 40 countries also include Turkey, Switzerland and the Channel Islands. Vodafone says the 40 countries cover 80% of its customers’ overseas trips.

Three already offers free roaming in most European countries including France, Spain, Greece and Germany as well as countries further afield such as the USA, Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand. Free roaming applies to all new Vodafone customers and the changes come into for existing customers on June 11, four days before the EU ruling to abolish roaming charges takes effect.

Customer focused initiatives

Fortunately, falling in line with new rules on roaming isn’t the only thing Vodafone is introducing to try and win over the British public.

  • Flexible upgrades – pay-monthly customers will now be able to upgrade their phone six months into their contract. There will be a flexible upgrade fee, which will vary depending on how far into the contract you are. You can also sell your existing phone back to Vodafone to help pay the fee.
  • Simpler contracts – Vodafone’s contracts will be split into three categories to make it easier to choose what you want. ‘Essentials’ contracts come with 500 texts, up to 500MB of data and up to 500 minutes. ‘Red Extra’ has up to 40GB of data with unlimited calls and texts. ‘Red Entertainment’ caps at 60GB of data, unlimited calls and texts as well as a 24-month subscription to Spotify, Now TV or Sky Sports.
  • Customer service improvements – Ofcom’s report and our own research showed that people weren’t satisfied with how their complaints were handled. Vodafone has committed to hiring thousands more UK call centre staff to provide better service.
  • TOBi – customer service through Vodafone’s webchat will be handled by TOBi an artificial intelligence that can handle a range of queries from delivery updates to troubleshooting, and you won’t need to wait for a human adviser. If TOBi can’t handle the problem then you’ll be referred to customer service agent.

How well these changes will go down with Vodafone customers is yet to be seen, but we’ll certainly be asking the question in our next satisfaction survey.

We rate mobile networks by customer satisfaction, how easy they are to get in touch with and their value for money. Find out which providers came out on top and choose the best mobile network provider.

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