Building for the Future

What are the results?

How do we achieve our results?


Upgrading and improving our network
Vodafone is carrying out a thorough upgrade of its network, consisting of four phases that will run in parallel. First of all the basic facilities have been adapted to make the network upgrade possible. In phase 2 almost 4,500 antenna sites will be upgraded. This will involve Vodafone replacing antennas, base stations and cabling with more powerful equipment. The number of network exchanges will also be reduced, making it easier to secure the sites. The ultimate aim is the transformation into a network that will deal with all services (fixed and mobile telephony, data, audio and video) in the same way and via the same infrastructure, also known as an 'all IP' network. Vodafone has been developing the 4G network since 2012. Mobile broadband is already being offered in the Eindhoven and Groningen regions with the 2600 MHz frequency.

  • To prepare our IT infrastructure for the future, we are implementing an IT programme to upgrade and improve the infrastructure for our ordering, support, billing and customer processes.

Disasters, faults and repair
If a section of the network gets too busy or fails, a back-up system takes over. To guarantee the continuity of mobile services, redundancy is built into telephone exchanges so that another telephone exchange can take over provision of the service in the event of a disaster.


We are taking measures to guarantee the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the network and network data.

We have started organising our business operations in accordance with the international security standard ISO 27001 for managing and securing valuable (customer) data. Our network is secured using the highest possible level of 2G encryption (A5/3) and we are striving to equip all sites with A5/3.


In September 2009, Vodafone signed the Long-Term Agreement on Energy Efficiency 3 (MJA3), an agreement between ICT companies and the government to make joint efforts to increase energy efficiency by 2% each year until 2020. We explain what measures we are taking in periodic long-term plans.

Innovative products and services

  • Machine-to-machine: Vodafone provides connectivity for machine-to-machine applications. In addition, we have expanded our portfolio to include hardware (incl. M2M modems) and software. As a result we are able to offer our customers complete solutions for reading out data from devices remotely and to help them achieve their objectives.
  • Mobile payments: Together with Visa we are developing a mobile wallet service that will enable customers to buy products and services in shops and petrol stations using their smartphone. We are also developing simple solutions that will allow customers to pay for apps and games via their monthly telephone bill.
  • Encouraging and facilitating innovation: Vodafone is actively seeking to collaborate with the government, educational institutions and companies to encourage and facilitate innovation. Many collaborations with universities and other organisations have been started over the past year. One striking example is Startupbootcamp.
  • With our products and services we want to make a contribution to innovations in the area of healthcare. Examples include the Mobiles for Good challenge, World of Difference and the collaboration with Dance4life.

Chain management

Vodafone endeavours to increase the sustainability of its chain by, amongst other things:

  • having its top 30 suppliers perform a self-assessment.
  • participating in MVO Nederland's [CSR Netherlands] social conditions for tenders pilot.

What are the results to date?


  • Phase 1 of the network upgrade has been completed: Vodafone has completely recovered from the effects of the fire at a network exchange in Rotterdam in April 2012. Phases 2, 3 and 4 have been started to improve availability, capacity and stability. Almost a third of 3G sites have been upgraded.
  • Accessibility of mobile calls is 99.6%, high speed data is 99.6% and we have a dropped call rate of less than 0.4%.
  • Vodafone has made agreements with KPN and T-Mobile on regional roaming in the event of faults.
  • Phase 1 of the IT upgrade has been completed.


  • Energy efficiency of -0.05%.
  • CO2 emissions have increased by 15% compared with the previous year. CO2 footprint

Innovative products and services

  • Machine-to-machine technology: Vodafone is the market leader with a market share of 51%. Turnover has grown by >10%. This is in line with the growth of the market as a whole.

Chain management

  • Self-assessment by eight of our top 30 suppliers.
  • An award established for the most sustainable supplier.
  • Vodafone falls into Regime 3 (risk) for risks related to social conditions for the supply of network connectivity and SIM cards.

“To achieve a sustainable purchasing process, you need transparency in and an insight into the chain of suppliers. Although suppliers are keen to work with us on creating a sustainable chain, they regard some information as confidential and competitively sensitive. It therefore remains a challenge to clarify where products come from and how they are produced.”,
Jos Doensen, Chief Procurement Officer Vodafone Netherlands

Sustainability award for suppliers

Vodafone presented an award to its most sustainable supplier for the first time in 2012. Read more.

How do we measure the results?

  • The quality of the network is measured, amongst other things, by means of:
    • Network benchmarks via (third) parties and methodologies.
    • ‘Live drive testing’: measurement units have been installed in 65 taxis across the Netherlands.
    • A speed test, which we use to measure network performance via the results of app users.
  • CO2 emissions are calculated via the CO2 footprint in accordance with the scope classification, a calculation model of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GrHG-protocol) Scope 1-3
    • Scope 1 Direct CO2 emissions due, for example, to Vodafone's lease cars and the heating of buildings using natural gas.
    • Scope 2 Indirect CO2 emissions due, for example, to the electricity consumed by our network or district heating for our buildings.
    • Scope 3 Other indirect CO2 emissions related to Vodafone's activities, such as claimed kilometres or air travel.
  • Vodafone is investing in Startupbootcamp. This is an initiative in which start-ups are offered an accelerator programme lasting a number of months. Vodafone is not only a sponsor and shareholder of the initiative, but also accommodates Startupbootcamp on the 6th floor of its head office. The 10 start-ups that took part in Startupbootcamp in 2012 have since created 120 new jobs.
  • Vodafone is also investing in Startup Network (SUN) Amsterdam, a collaboration between the government, education and the business community that aims to support innovative companies.
  • Vodafone is participating in THNK, The Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership, where leaders of the future are trained.
  • Together with a number of other leading companies, Vodafone is working together with TU Delft and Agentschap NL on the 'Products that last' programme, which aims to extend the life span of products in a commercial manner.
  • Last year Vodafone also supported 3rd year Entrepreneurship & Innovation students at TU Eindhoven with feasibility studies in the area of m-health and innovative 4G applications.
  • In Maastricht Vodafone has sponsored the Museum aan 't Vrijthof for the development of an augmented reality app for children.

What is machine-to-machine technology?

Machine-to-machine communication, better known as M2M or telemetry, connects machines or devices remotely and exchanges important information between machines or devices, without human intervention. A device (e.g. a sensor) is connected to a SIM card. If the device detects an event, the SIM card passes on the information about it, such as temperature, location, consumption, heart rate, stress, light, movement, height or speed, to a central server. The server then translates the data into meaningful information, so that a response can be triggered. Examples include the temperature being lowered remotely if it is too warm, the remote monitoring of a patient's heart rate by a doctor and a signal to indicate that a rubbish bin is full or a soft drinks machine is empty. M2M communication can also be applied to people. It can help protect employees working on their own or vulnerable children, help find missing people and ensure that people who are on medication take the right medicines at the right time.

Mobiles for Good challenge

Mobiles for Good Challenge The Mobiles for Good Challenge is a competition to find innovative mobile applications that contribute to the health and well-being of people. Last year we financed three projects:

  1. The malaria tester by the start-up Amplino is a mobile malaria tester that enables doctors to make a diagnosis within 40 minutes. With the resources currently available, such a diagnosis takes two to three weeks. This app can significantly reduce the number of victims of malaria.
  2. The Hospitality App has been developed by the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam [Academisch Medisch Centrum, Amsterdam]. This app ensures that older patients are accompanied to their consultation by a student, who can also attend the consultation. As a result the patients find making their way through the hospital less stressful, are able to follow the consultation better and can also ask questions about the information they have been given afterwards.
  3. Speech assistant: this app has been designed by the company A-Soft to make communication possible for people who have difficulty speaking, but who can read. Using the app it is possible to define a set of words, which then become visible directly as buttons on the screen. Sentences can be formed quickly and simply by touching the words on the screen. With the help of 'text to speech' the sentences created can be converted into spoken language. The app has now been downloaded 10,000 times in various languages.

World of Difference

World of Difference videoWorld of Difference World of Difference is a programme by the Vodafone Foundation in which young professionals are given the opportunity to work as a team on a social project. Since February 2013 the 4 winners from 2012 have been working in Ghana on a mobile application intended to inform young people about sex, HIV and AIDS. The project is supported by IICD and dance4life.


Collaboration with dance4life

Stichting dance4life [the dance4life Foundation] has been a partner of the Vodafone Foundation for many years. This foundation inspires young people to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS. Last year the Vodafone Foundation supported dance4life with the development of an app that would provide clear answers to any questions young people may have about safe sex. The Vodafone Foundation also supports dance4life's schools4life programme in which young people are made aware of the problem of HIV and AIDS by means of school tours and campaigns.

CO2 footprint*
    2009 2010 2011 2012
Scope 1


Scope 1 total


2982 3044 4377 6223
Scope 2 Buildings
Scope 2 total   39758 42442 41342 45979
Scope 3 Paper
Air travel
Scope 3 total   256 194 429 6753
General total   42997 45678 46148 58954
Green energy   29077 36460 41379 47752
Total CO2 emissions in tonnes
including green energy
  13920 9218 4769 11202

* Emissions are indicated in tonnes of CO2

Sustainability award for suppliers

Vodafone presented an award to its most sustainable supplier for the first time in 2012. With this initiative Vodafone's intention is to promote the importance of sustainability in the chain. Three companies were selected from more than 3,000 different suppliers to Vodafone Netherlands on the basis of their sustainability score: Shields Environmental, Sogeti and Deutsche Post-DHL. These three suppliers were assessed by the jury in terms of their relevance, transparency, credibility, innovation, collaboration in the chain and ambition. The jury, consisting of Arjan de Draaijer, Director of Sustainability at KPMG, Michiel van Yperen, Chain Specialist at MVO Nederland, Jos Doensen, Chief Procurement Officer at Vodafone Netherlands, and Klaske de Jonge, Director of Corporate Affairs & Strategy at Vodafone Netherlands, chose Shields Environmental as the winner. The life cycle analysis reveals that the environmental impact of network equipment is greatest during manufacturing. Shields' primary service is the extension of the life span of network equipment. As a small company Shields is able to embed sustainability in the chain quickly. It received an award and a cheque for EUR 5,000, which is to be spent on a relevant sustainability project.

We are taking a variety of measures to save energy in our network. Some examples:

  • The air conditioning that is needed to keep the transmitting equipment cool has been replaced by environmentally friendly cooling systems at a number of transmitter masts.
  • New transmitting equipment is able to handle heat better. This means that less energy is required for cooling purposes.
  • A number of GSM masts are put on stand-by automatically at night. During this sleep mode a mast uses much less energy.
  • The cabinets for the transmitting equipment are close to the mast. As a result much less energy is required to bridge the distance between a mast and the transmitting equipment.
  • If there is a power failure, a battery supplies electricity temporarily. Such a battery consumes a large amount of energy. By means of smart planning, it has been possible to substantially reduce the number of batteries required.

To guarantee confidentiality, integrity and availability, we ensure, amongst other things, that:

  • only authorised persons have access to certain data.
  • information cannot be changed without detection.
  • the network is monitored and scanned 24/7.
  • vulnerabilities, threats and risks are managed in a structured way.
  • our security processes are checked periodically by independent parties.
2012 2013 en Vodafone Magazine