Our services include mobile, fixed line, broadband and the Internet of Things (IoT). We serve over 18 million mobile and fixed line customers in the UK, with 4G network coverage at 99%, and we are well positioned for the evolution to 5G. In the broadband market, we connect about 0.5 million customers. We employ around 11,000 people across the UK, and operate more than 400 retail stores nationwide.
We began life as a start-up above a curry shop in Newbury more than 30 years ago, and made our name as an innovative British business. Vodafone made Britain’s first mobile phone call on New Year’s Day 1985, we sent the first text message in 1992, and we’re still blazing a trail today.
We’re leading the way in new technologies like 5G. In February 2019, having moved first to test the technology that will power 5G smartphones, Vodafone connected the UK’s first 5G airport at Manchester. That follows several more UK 5G firsts. In October 2018, we were the first company in the UK to carry full 5G over a commercial network, streaming live mobile data traffic exclusively over 5G from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. In September 2018, we made the UK’s first live 3D holographic call using 5G, marking a major milestone in UK communications.
We’ve announced the roll-out of 5G across the UK, starting in Greater Manchester, with Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool and London to receive 5G as well. We will also bring 5G to the Scottish Highlands, Cornwall and the Lake District, among other locations.
Connecting a Gigabit Society with full fibre
We’re also finding new ways to fund and deliver the connectivity that a Gigabit Society needs. Through our long-term strategic partnership with CityFibre, we’ll be delivering Gigabit-capable full fibre broadband to 10 cities, kicking off with Milton Keynes, and reaching one million homes and business across the UK.
We’re also engaging with the UK government and other stakeholders to help our nation become a leading digital economy. As part of our efforts we’ve commissioned research on subjects that matter to the UK’s future, like fostering economic growth by building Digital Super Towns across the country, and expanding our digital workforce, and there’s much more to come.
We’re recruiting around 2,000 contact centre staff in the UK to make it easier for customers to speak to us. At the same time, we’re investing in digital care. We offer 24/7 care over instant messaging and social media, and to speed up responses to online customer queries, we launched TOBi, our artificial intelligence chatbot. TOBi understands what people need help with more than 90% of the time, and he’s still learning.
Delivering customised offerings for today’s connected families
Customer needs are always evolving, and that’s why we never stop innovating. We were first in the UK to offer The Ultimate Broadband Guarantee, which guarantees speeds to your router or money off until it’s fixed. Our 30 Day Service Guarantee, another UK network first, provides new and upgrading Pay Monthly customers with 30 days to try us before deciding whether to stay.
To help UK families benefit from Internet of Things technologies, we came up with “V by Vodafone”, an easy to use service for people to connect and manage multiple IoT devices. Our line of products include a smart watch designed for younger children, a smart bracelet designed for vulnerable family members, a range of smart home devices and services, and more – all to help families protect the things that matter to them.
Customised solutions matter in the business world, too. Take a common problem like losing your mobile phone. For a UK small business, losing access to a mobile for even one day could cost that business as much as £12k. That’s why we introduced Vodafone Rapid, which caters to our small business customers and gets replacement phones to them within four hours of an approved insurance claim being made.
Our partnership stretches right into the heart of the public sector as well. For a start, we’re helping police forces across the UK and Northern Ireland to make the transition from paper-based administration to mobile devices. This gives them access to more information while they’re out on the beat. We’re also helping central government departments join up services and cut costs, and we’re constantly looking for ways to help drive innovation.
Connectivity is at the heart of what we do and gives us a huge opportunity for good. For us, that’s what being a sustainable business is all about – using our network, products, people and technology to respond to important social and environmental issues and help society prosper. Find out more here.
We’re part of Vodafone Group, one of the world’s leading telecommunications companies. Vodafone Group has mobile operations in 25 countries, partners with mobile networks in 44 more, and has fixed broadband operations in 19 markets. As of 31 December 2018, Vodafone Group had about 700 million mobile customers and 21 million fixed broadband customers, including all of the customers in Vodafone’s joint ventures and associates. For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit: www.vodafone.co.uk