Residents of Deeside have been complaining of “horrendous, dire and disastrous” service from mobile phone service provider, Vodafone.
Last week on Facebook group, ‘Deeside Buy, Swap and Sell’ Aboyne resident Sally Duthie posted a lengthy and frustrated complaint about the telecommunication giant’s service provision.
She said: “First they told me the problem is fixed. It clearly isn’t as I still have no service most of the time in and around Aboyne. Then they told me the real issue is that too many people are using the same mast so this is affecting our signal. When I asked them to upgrade the mast they said they probably wouldn’t do this as we are in a rural area.
“The end of the conversation was then [sic] saying they would have to let any Vodafone customer out of their contract as they can’t provide a service.
“So on that note which service provider works best in this area?”
This was followed by an outpouring of anger and discussion regarding service provision on Deeside by way of 131 additional comments on the subject.
When The Piper contacted Vodafone, they claimed to have “no record” of Sally’s complaint and issued a statement.
Jane frapwell of Vodafone UK said: “We’re very sorry some of our customers locally have been experiencing signal issues lately. We have two masts covering this area and both have been affected by a fault of the link which connects them into the rest of network. We’ve been working with BT who supply the link to get this resolved and one site is now up and running. Customers should be able to use the service although it won’t be operating as well as it should. We are still working on the other mast to bring the service back to normal.
“Things can go wrong – many of them beyond our control – and fixing issues, often at height, can take longer than we’d like. Anyone who has been unable to use any of our services for three days or more in a row can request a refund of that proportion of the line rental. However, because our service is a mobile one and the problem is isolated to a limited area surrounding the mast, we cannot terminate agreements on this basis.”
Despite a busy campaigning schedule Liberal Democrat West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine candidate Sir Robert Smith contacted Vodafone and the industry watchdog to raise his concerns.
Sir Robert said: “I have written again to the regulator Ofcom for their assessment of causes of mobile signal failure. I have asked what further action the regulator can take and I hope this will help to focus the minds of suppliers.”
“Mobile, telephone and broadband services should be viewed as essentials like heat and water. I have previously raised my concerns about connectivity in the North East in Parliament and I have written to the regulator, Ofcom, asking what steps can be taken to ensure suppliers like Vodafone meet their obligations to customers and what compensation might be available when there are signal failures.”