Email phishing scams are nothing new. In fact, they’ve been around for as long as email has, attempting to convince people to hand over their details before scamming them further. However, a new breed of phishing scam has hit Vodafone customers, who are now being warned about one of the most realistic scams yet.
The government backed Get Safe Online resource for consumers to protect themselves from online fraud, shared a tweet warning that whilst the initial ‘Vodafone’ bill might look authentic, the link to view your bill leads to an obvious fake, designed to capture your details.
The email claims that the customer overs over £400 for their latest phone or broadband bill, an amount clearly designed to panic users into clicking on the link and therefore giving away their details.
Thankfully though, there’s an easy way to tell that the email is a scam – look at the email address. Although the sender shows a convincing @vodafone address, the actual email address that follows is clearly not.
It follows a similar scam which had iTunes users receive a fake invoice for £90 purchases and have them download a piece of software, which would then take control of the files on the computer and hold them to ransom. The effects of such a scam were widely felt when the NHS and other large organisations around the world were hit by the WannaCry ransomware, which demanded money to release files.
Phishing scams aren’t limited to email either, with WhatsApp users recently being targeted with notifications of incoming subscription fees, despite the fact that WhatsApp is free.
The best advice for any email that you receive from Vodafone that you’re not sure about is to find the contact details for Vodafone and get in touch with their customer services department and speak to them about it. They’ll be able to confirm whether the correspondence is from them, or a third party.
Of course, if you’re confident about where your email is coming from, there’s nothing to be afraid of. The only way to reliably stop scammers is to pay just that little bit more attention when you’re considering giving out your private information.
Vodafone are, in 2017, one of the biggest mobile networks not just in the UK, but in the world. With a turnover north of £40 billion in 2016, they’re a global telecommunications giant with a reach which extends into more sectors than you might imagine.
As a customer in the UK though, what should you know about Vodafone? In this guide, we’re going to break down the essentials about the company, from their founding right up to their current offerings for potential customers like you. Let’s get started, shall we?
A short history of Vodafone
Vodafone began life as a subsidiary of Racal Electronics plc, known as Racal Strategic Radio Ltd, this was a joint venture between the UK’s largest manufacturer of military radio technology and a pioneering American mobile network provider called Millicom, and would form the basis of what we know today as Vodafone.
Quickly changing their name to Racal Telecom, they bid for the UK’s second ever cellular radio license. At this time, the ownership split was decided with Racal owning 80% of the company, Millicom taking 15% plus royalties and a separate venture trust owning 5%. The license was secured, and the two companies set to work to create the UK’s first national mobile network. Buy the start of 1985, they were ready.
Another name change was on its way, as the company became Racal-Vodafone. Though growth was initially modest, a steady influx of customers and the evident viability of a consumer mobile network meant that the decision to demerge from the largely military company Racal was taken. By 1991, the company became the Vodafone Group.
That change and a strong advertising push meant that growth was meteoric at Vodafone in the early 90s, as the company soon became the UK’s biggest mobile network. Though it would later hand that crown off to Orange, T-Mobile and (most recently) EE, Vodafone’s achievement shouldn’t be underestimated.
Today, Vodafone make their fortune in a number of ways. Not content merely offering mobile contracts, Vodafone invest heavily in mobile infrastructure around the world, offer home broadband for customers in the UK and remain an important part of the growth of 4G and (soon) 5G mobile broadband tech.
With over 450 million subscribers spread across over 60 countries, this British company have grown to become one of the very biggest in the world, with a brand identity which rivals some of the very biggest out there.
What services do Vodafone offer?
Pay Monthly – Vodafone made their name as a pay monthly contract provider, and that remains their bread and butter offering. By going online or using the Vodafone contact number, you can select between a huge range of smartphones like the iPhone 7, Galaxy S7 and Sony XZ and an even wider range of bundles.
You can choose a bundle with a focus on 4G data, minutes or texts to suit you. Best of all, all of Vodafone’s ‘Red Value’ bundles come with a 6, 12 or 24 month subscription to a popular service like Now TV, Spotify, Sky Sports Mobile, included at no extra charge. That’s a huge reason to go with Vodafone as mobile provider.
Also included with all Red and Red Value bundles is roaming for 40 European countries with a monthly data allowance of 4GB and unlimited texts, minutes and pictures messages included. If you’re traveling further afield, a £5 per day charge is included.
At various points, you may also find Vodafone offer steep discounts on their contracts, so keep an eye out for that.
Home Broadband – Vodafone have, in the last 5 years, made a serious play for the home broadband market, and today have quite a convincing offering. Their offering is split into three options – Unlimited Standard Broadband 17 (£23 a month for new & existing customers, limited to 17Mbps speeds), Unlimited Fibre 38 (£23/£26 a month for existing/new customers, limited to 38Mbps) and Unlimited Fibre 76 (£28/£31 a month for existing/new customers, limited to 76Mbps).
Each contract is for 18 months and both Fibre offers require a one-time connection fee of £24. All contracts are free from usage caps, so you’re free to stream and download as much as you like.
Does Vodafone have good satisfaction levels?
Despite Vodafone’s long held position at the heart of the UK’s mobile telecommunications industry, their customer service record is extremely poor. In the latest Which? consumer satisfaction survey, Vodafone was found to be the single most complained about pay-monthly mobile provider. That’s bad news for potential customers, as only 49% of existing customers were satisfied with their experience.
Let’s be honest, for all the good things about Vodafone, their communication skills aren’t up there with the best. It’s not because of a lack of news stories out there, it’s simply because the official channels that Vodafone use just aren’t kept as up to date as they could be.
So, we decided to pick up their slack and round up all of the Vodafone news stories that have hit the wires over the last 30 days. From terrible customer service scores to the potential for drone traffic management, it’s been an interesting December for Vodafone. Let’s dig in.
It’s certainly not the end of year award that they were looking for, but Vodafone have topped the charts for the number of complaints during the last three months, according to Ofcom data.
The league table of complaints looks at gripes received against telecom providers like Vodafone who provide broadband, landline, mobile contracts and subscription TV. Once again, Vodafone came out at the top of most complaints of any mobile service provider.
Vodafone registered 18 complaints per 100,000 customers, which is more than double the next worst – Talk Mobile – who registered just 8. The industry average sits at 6, and though Vodafone’s performance in this regard is extremely poor, it’s continued to improve.
Vodafone’s worst quarterly performance came at Q4 2015, when the company averaged 32 complaints per 100,000. Nevertheless, it’s something that the contact Vodafone team need to work on improving if they’ve any hope of competing against upstart networks like Sky Mobile.
Drones might not be the hot Christmas item they were last year, but their potential in a number of emerging fields has proven enduring. Case in point? Vodafone are investigating a potential role in traffic management for drones.
After meeting European aviation authorities about adapting their network to track and identify unmanned aircraft, Vodafone are seriously considering the potential of such a system. Regulators are said to be keen on developing a framework for integrating drone safety into international airspace by 2030, and Vodafone could have a key role to play.
Yves Morier, director of unmanned aircraft as ESSA, said mobile phone companies offered “lots of interesting ideas” in the search for an air traffic control system for the unmanned market. “A number of ideas [Vodafone] had could contribute,” he said. “Human intervention would be limited. It is highly ambitious but it is clearly a technology that should be looked at.”
Any product launched from Vodafone in this area would not come in 2017, but could be worked on in Vodafone’s R&D department before a further announcement. Vodafone themselves have been quick to say this is at a ‘very early stage’.
Data rollover schemes are a fantastic way for customers who don’t use all of their data in one month to use it in the next. It’s a simple, consumer friendly move that a number of mobile networks have implemented, including O2, iD and Sky Mobile.
As such, it was welcome news that Vodafone announced that data rollover would be an option on their pre-pay Big Value Bundles. The curious part? Vodafone claimed this was an “industry first”.
“We are delighted to be offering yet another industry first to our customers by introducing Data Rollover,” said Glafkos Persianis, Vodafone UK’s commercial director. “Through listening to our customers, we’re determined to simplify our products and offer even better value for money, so that they can enjoy the UK’s winning network wherever they are.”
The only thing is, as we know, is that data rollover isn’t an ‘industry first’. To make matters worse, Vodafone’s implementation is much worse than other networks. Unlike, say, Sky Mobile, which let you hoard your data for up to 36 months, Vodafone kills off your accrued data at the end of the next month.
Vodafone have taken the wraps off 100 new partners in the first phase of a new enterprise programme, due to come into effect on January 1st, 2017. It’s the first time Vodafone have offered official certification across their portfolio of fixed, mobile, cloud and converged technology.
Nick Birtwistle, director of partners and strategic alliances at Vodafone UK, said: “From unified communications to the Internet of Things, digital technologies are enhancing the way businesses and public services work. This is driving transformation in the design and delivery of communications infrastructure and services, and demand for converged solutions. We have designed our new programme to equip our partners with the highest-levels of training and support around our portfolio of technologies. We believe this will help them to take a leading position in this new era of communications and provide continued service excellence for customers,”