Vodafone has failed to classify and analyse customer complaints, as well as failed to provide timely information about network performance issues, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority. The telco also had poor systems in place for protecting customer privacy prior to a serious security breach in January 2011.
"Certainly, Vodafone has made positive changes over the course of this year but, from this point on, if either Vodafone company fails to comply with the TCP Code, the ACMA can approach the Federal Court seeking civil penalties of up to $250,000," says ACMA chairman Chris Chapman.
Vodafone Hutchison Australia has already addressed the issues in question, says VHA chief executive Nigel Dews.
“We have supported the ACMA throughout their thorough and lengthy assessment, and while we respect the ACMA's view of past events, we haven't waited for their report to tell us what we've needed to do,'' Dews said.
“In February 2011, we announced that we would accelerate network improvement plans and fast-track our $1 billion investment in the new Vodafone network. Customer service improvements were also made and we expanded the network information available to customers. Security measures were tightened for customer information.”
The ACMA’s response is disappointing and Vodafone has escaped “virtually scot-free”, says Teresa Corbin of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.
“These network problems impacted on millions of Vodafone customers last summer and were it not for the negative publicity generated through the media picking up on the story, Vodafone might have continued to deny there was any,” Corbin says.
“The ACMA’s Vodafone investigation makes it clear that the regulator needs stronger enforcement powers and that an industry Code, governing vital telecommunication services, cannot be voluntary.”