What have we done well?
- The blog written by our Director of Commercial Operations on the discontinuation of mobile internet for customers without a data bundle to protect them against unexpected and inadvertent out-of-bundle costs (as part of a series on measures against unexpected data costs) was very well received by the press. There was positive public feedback from the Dutch consumer organisation Consumentenbond and positive responses from the general public, e.g. on NU.nl.
- Positive review in national Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant (in addition to several positive test results from other media) concerning SignaalPlus for indoor coverage.
- In April 2012 our Consumer Market Director Bart Hofker posted a blog on internet speeds, calling for ideas on how we can best communicate data speeds, as there was a substantial lack of clarity in this area. Numerous responses were received via social media. The ideas were subsequently discussed with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Consumentenbond, so that they also had the opportunity to give their point of view. In response to this we will place less emphasis on theoretical maximum speeds and will be the only provider to refine these to indicate as accurately as possible the speeds that customers can expect in practice.
What can we do better?
- The general public is not aware of what mobile communication does and is capable of doing for society. Mobile applications help achieve efficiency, cost savings and cost reductions in sectors including healthcare, waste processing and logistics. Providing an insight into the social impact of our products and services and bringing this to the attention of a wide audience is our next challenge.
- We want to provide our customers with good, prompt and accessible information about our products, services and policy choices. The information we provide online about privacy, our corporate blogs and simplified general terms and conditions are examples of this. Over the coming year we will be taking further steps by providing our customers with information on important issues more proactively.
What do our stakeholders say?
"Vodafone's reputation has improved compared with 2011 and people are now more positive about Vodafone's performance in relation to the reputation dimensions, in particular with regard to management (7.8) and citizenship (6.7). Support from respondents for Vodafone has also increased."
Reputation Institute, November 2012
"The fact that Vodafone is taking the initiative and inviting stakeholders across the board demonstrates that Vodafone is a 'thought leader' in the area of sustainability."
Participant in stakeholder dialogue, 9 April 2013
Innovation vs privacy (big data)
Network data can be used for useful purposes and lead to innovative solutions. This data can be used, for example, to make better predictions about how many people will use a new road, public transport connection or other public facilities. So-called Big Data can also violate privacy, however, if it is not used carefully. Vodafone Netherlands has started a pilot together with Mezuro focusing on applications within the public sector. Anonymised and aggregated mobile network data is used exclusively in this pilot.
Affordable and accessible network vs privacy
Packet Inspection is an umbrella term for techniques which can be used to analyse data traffic that is transmitted over networks. These data analysis techniques are necessary to be able to guarantee the capacity and security of the network and the services offered, and to be able to offer customers quality, protection and user-friendliness. In May 2011 various media reported that a number of mobile network providers, such as KPN and Vodafone, make use of Packet Inspection. For external stakeholders, however, such as Dutch MPs, the media and regulators, it was unclear at what level packet inspection was being applied, what the precise purposes are for which these techniques are employed and whether there was a threat to user privacy. The impression was created that mobile network providers were looking at more than is necessary and were using Packet Inspection to restrict access to the open internet (by charging extra for using WhatsApp, for example). Vodafone only looks at the content of the data traffic if it receives a request to this effect from the public prosecutor; Vodafone only makes use of Packet Inspection techniques for the purposes of security, for billing and to manage traffic across the network. For the most far-reaching form of Packet Inspection, Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), Vodafone has clear guidelines and careful procedures in place. These are checked each year by an internal department (compliance office) and by an external agency. In July 2011 the Dutch Data Protection Authority (CBP) launched an investigation into the use of data analysis techniques by Vodafone and a number of other telecom companies in the Netherlands. This was continued in 2012/2013 and is expected to be completed in June 2013. Vodafone has cooperated fully with the investigation. Furthermore, Vodafone has added to the information it provides on the use of Packet Inspection online within the privacy section.