The Consumer Council of Fiji maintains its earlier call to Vodafone Fiji to improve its current 3G and 4G Networks. The Council reiterates that Vodafone Fiji owes a better service to all its users and not just hollow promises such as ultra fast speeds. We have information from Vodafone Fiji users where connectivity and advertised speeds do not match what they actually experience. There have been instances where consumers had chosen to downgrade the service after Vodafone Fiji could not deliver 4G speed as advertised.
The issue is not simply about speed. It’s about promised speed and actual user experience. It’s about the need for more accurate information on service delivery; which is why the Council is calling for a Broadband Disclosure Statement.
Any ISP selling products based on speed should guarantee speed which should be clearly disclosed on advertisements to customers and in customer service contracts. Consumers signing up to a service need to give their consent that they understand these terms and that there is no guarantee of 3G, 4G or whatever speeds are being advertised by the ISPs. It is baffling to note that Vodafone continues to advertise 4G and emphasizes speed.
It has been running advertisements with phrases like “Enjoy 3G High Speed Mobile Broadband with Vodafone”. (See: http://www.vodafone.com.fj/pages.cfm/personal/specials-offers/now-with-95-3g-coverge-fiji-wide.html)
One should look at its FAQs on 4G on its website: http://www.vodafone.com.fj/pages.cfm/personal/services/4g-live/frequently-asked-questions-faqs-4g.html?&printerfriendly=true . In number 8 it says “In a word – Speed. Vodafone 4G provides ultra fast speeds and this means that you can do more in less time…”
Vodafone says it has “never guaranteed speeds but always made sure it advised customers of the range of speeds on average they could expect” – How does Vodafone communicate this to customers? We have not normally seen such a disclaimer in its advertisements.
In regards to illegal phones and the laws/regulations, Vodafone needs to specify the particular technical rules and standards as per Section 55 (3) and (4) of the Telecommunications Promulgation 2008. For the benefit of consumers, it would be really helpful for Vodafone or TAF to make people aware of these specific rules and standards pertaining to mobile equipment and devices. Instead of blaming consumers and some retailers of bringing in such equipment, consumers should be educated on these requirements. Do the right thing by making all necessary disclosures!
…..….………………………. Ms. Bindula Prasad Officer-In-Charge Consumer Council of Fiji