In today’s times it is impossible to imagine a world without the use of cellular phones. Mobile or Cellular phones have today gone from being just a prestige buy for some to becoming one of the most essential things that we need in everyday life. But what would mobile phones be without the network service provider? The answer to that question is absolutely no where. They could be used to play games, store numbers may be even take photographs but without the service providers they would be of absolutely no use.
Among the many service providers of the world one of the prominent names is Vodafone. Vodafone Australia is one of the most used network service providers in Australia. Likewise, World wide it is one of the most recognized cellular network service brands in the world. Worldwide Vodafone is solely focused on just one thing mobile technology. Their aim to provide new wireless services for people who are looking for freedom and flexibility to be able to operate, communicate and access information anywhere and anytime.
Vodafone group was established in the UK in 1983 and has equity interest in 26 other countries to date. Apart from which it has partner network providers in 13 other countries which means they have an unprecedented customer base of more than 155 million people. Vodafone Australia has been a very important player in the cellular service provider business since its entry into the market. It still continuous to be one of the most trusted names in the world of cellular network providers in Australia and around the world. Ever since its market entry the cellular market in Australia has grown rapidly.
Vodafone was awarded the third Australian telecommunication carrier license in December 1992. In September of 1993 the company began providing GSM mobile telecommunication services with network in cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. By March of 1994 Vodafone had already expanded to cities like Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The company even offers GPRS services on its network to its customers as which allows the customers using Vodafone to be able to access the internet on the mobile and be able to transfer data way quicker than that of the GSM providers.
More than 3 million customers are connected to Vodafone, which is almost a 17 per cent share of the Australian mobile market. http://www. vodafone. com. au/personal/aboutvodafone/companyinfo/companyoverview/index. htm/ Market Analysis Vodafone has achieved the tier one status among the total of 7 vendors in the current analysis of the voice solutions market assessment report. Current Analysis is the leading competitive response solutions company delivering rapid, tactical and action oriented intelligence on highly volatile markets.
According to Current Analysis, “The market for business mobile voice solutions has proliferated considerably from simple tariffs and all-mobile mobile VPNs to a new breed of more sophisticated products, which include fixed-line calling and integrated fixed and mobile pricing propositions. ” http://enterprise. vodafone. com/global/about_vge/analysts_views/current_analysis/currentanalysis. jsp/ SWOT Analysis Strengths Technical knowledge: The technical knowledge of Vodafone as a company is very high compared to its competitors.
One of the most important reasons for Vodafone’s success in the industry of telecommunications service is because of the technical expertise they have as a company which has been in the forefront of introducing newer service facilities in the market to its customers. Infrastructure: Owing to the fact that Vodafone is one of the biggest service providers in the whole world they have the advantage of having one of the biggest infrastructure in the world when it comes to cellular network providers.
Branding: The brand image which has a major effect on the target market when it comes to a service organization is definitely something that is very strong with Vodafone. It is one of the most trusted names in the world on telecommunications. Weakness Reliance on technology essentially: The network providers simply have to completely depend on technology. If there is an unforeseen technological difficulty at time it could result in the shutdown of service for a long time creating inconvenience for its customers.
Cant Expand without Licenses: In order for the company to plan its expansion of any kind it would need to licenses of many kind for which it might need to go through lengthy procedures. New technology requires massive R&D: Any kind of new technology that might they might want to come up with would require massive amount of research and development and at the same time would also require them spend massive amounts of money on infrastructure. Opportunities 3G: The third generation of mobile technology is newest thing in the mobile world and people are willing to pay more to have the 3rd generation phones.
One of the only network providers that offer this technology is Vodafone. Videophones: The introduction of Videophone technology too requires service providers which would be able to provide the service needed for customers to be able to use this feature on the phone. Mobile Internet: Vodafone is one of the service providers which gives its customers one of the best speeds on the mobile internet which is another reason why business could keep growing for Vodafone. Everyone wants a mobile: In today’s times everybody needs to have a mobile phone and that in itself is a huge opportunity for Vodafone. Threats
Cost of Licenses: Cost of licenses for 3G technology can cost upto 46 billion dollars. New technologies: Introduction of newer technologies could pose a threat for Vodafone as it would have to up its game and compete with newer technologies in the market. Social trend away from mobile phones: There could be a time when they would have a trend that would take the people of cell phones, may be to something new which could pose as a threat to service providers like Vodafone. PEST Analysis As a network service provider Vodafone does have any such Political and environmental factor which may be determinants of their services future.
But it does have Social and Technological factors which affect its existence in the market. Social Analysis Demographic and cultural aspects of the environments which influence customer needs are as follows: Health issues: Issues that may arise due to extensive use of cell phones. Demographics: Depending upon the demographics Vodafone would need to set up infrastructure in the far off places which could involve very high costs. Social Trends: Social trends change all the time. There could very well be a time when the social trends shift from using cell phones.
With newer technology coming up a shift of trends from mobile phones could cause major problems for Vodafone. Mobile Etiquette: The use of mobile phones should be done at all times but while maintaining certain etiquette. Many countries have come up with laws which prohibit a person to speak on the phone while driving etc. Saturation point: Like most things the cellular network industry could also hit saturation and that could pose as a threat for Vodafone. This could also be because of the increasing number of cellular network providers in the market.
Technological Analysis 3G: The third generation of cell phones has finally been introduced and that is the need of the market at the moment it is also one of the factors most affecting the network provider market. UMTS: It is the 4th generation of mobile phones MMS/GPRS: the GPRS and MMS technology which requires high speed mobile internet speed is also a determining factor for cellular networks. Target Market Getting to the facts though 72 per cent of Australians believe that there are too many functions on their mobile phone. That’s a lot of users. 43 per cent of 35-49 year olds and 66 per cent of over 50s only use a few of the functions on their current phone, so the next statistic makes sense. The large proportion (93%) of 35 – 49 year olds and 95 per cent of the over 50s demographic would choose a handset that is simple, easy to use and designed primarily for making and receiving calls.
Vodafone General Manager for Queensland and Northern Territory Michael Smith told SmartHouse that the phones have already been released in Europe and are enjoying success in that market prompting the company to release a similar campaign in Australia. The strategy is based on insights from our existing customers,” said Smith. (Gosling, 2005) Vodafone has also provides its services with 3G phones and also focuses on the younger market with consist of the age group between 18-39 who are also a major target market. But in order to cater to the needs of this target market Vodafone must keep up with the newest trends in the market along with giving facilities like GPRS and high speed internet connectivity in order to able to give quicker access to the net. Competitors Competitors of Vodafone in the Australian Market are quite a few.
These competitors make the telecommunications market a very competitive market. The competitors include 3, Optus, Virgin and Telstra. All these have a very loyal customer base in Australia and always pose as a threat to Vodafone in Australia. The war between these mobile service providers is not just in providing the mobile network but at the same time with providing new 3rd generation facilities as well. An example of this kind of competitive war is the provision of high speed broadband internet for which Vodafone, Optus and Telstra have been vying for top honours.
Vodafone and Optus are offering low-cost mobile broadband contracts with high download limits this Christmas, but Telstra says its competitors’ networks are still “too slow” and offer poor coverage. Vodafone’s 3G broadband network uses High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) technology to deliver speeds between 600kbps and 1. 5 Mbps to the metropolitan areas of Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Adelaide and Perth, as well as all the major airports across the country.
Although Vodafone is been able to give high speed internet in the cities it still struggles to be able to do so across the country. So this goes to show that even though Vodafone has been able to provide good service in most avenues it too has certain setbacks and struggles to do so in certain areas. Optus has also jumped on the low price mobile broadband bandwagon, offering a 2GB limit for AU$39. 99 a month, but only when linked with an Optus mobile or business phone.
Optus too has made its presence felt in the market in the mobile broadband but unlike Optus Vodafone does not have any hidden catches in their offering. An added advantage with Vodafone is The service compresses downloaded data up to a third. If a user downloads a 100KB site, it will only be 66. 6KB after being compressed, so the user is able to use less of their download quota. This shows the amount of effort put into putting the customers needs first by Vodafone. This also shows the innovative ways that Vodafone is trying to combat competition is the market.
Current Marketing Strategy Vodafone’s marketing strategy at the moment is one that requires for it to keep its market position and gain newer customers at the same time. Their marketing strategy is a mix of Innovation and branding. Product: The strategy of Vodafone is product led. The company forever thrives to come up with better products and give out better services with as much technical advances. Promotion: In order for the company to be able to get the attention of the youth which thinks hard before making a purchase.
They have sponsored race teams like Ferrari and Soccer teams like Manchester United which hold the youths attention. Price: Vodafone has tried to maintain a competitive price for their call rates as well as their internet mobile service. Place: They have to make sure that they’re outlets are strategically placed and place for promotion is selected carefully to make sure that there is enough exposure given to a the advertisements as place plays a huge role in both Promotion and Product. Current Problems and Issues
One of the issues for Vodafone at the moment in Australia may be the fact that they are unable to give optimum coverage to people living outside of the big cities which includes mobile broadband internet as well. The network coverage can at times be slow The website is slow at times as well which makes online recharge a difficult task People have also had issues with their customer service. Recommendations and Conclusion In order to make themselves a better company and be able to properly give the customers what they need Vodafone must be able to do the following things: Customer Relationship Marketing
Relationship marketing is an old idea but has now become a new focus at the forefront of services marketing practice. The impetus for its development has come from the maturing of services marketing and the emphasize on quality, increased recognition of potential benefits for the firm and the customer, and technological advances that a firm can provide. (Berry) •They must be able to make better on their customer relationship management strategies by hiring a more informative and interactive frontline staff who re completely informed about everything that is going on in the company and have knowledge of company facilities and schemes so they can be helpful to customers when they are asked for information and help •They should make sure that the website is fast and does not lag so that customers wanting to make transactions on the website would be able to do so without having issues of the webpage not loading quickly enough
•They could come up with a database software which would have all the information of the queries made by all the customers so that every time a certain customer calls back the frontline staff at the enquiry centre knows what the queries of the person calling is so that it would save the trouble of repeating the entire story to the new staff. Cost •Vodafone is required to compete on cost. As number probability means that people will turn to whoever can give them the best service cheapest. Differentiation Vodafone should also use differentiation strategies which distinguish their brand from its competitors a very good way of doing this would be something like this: Using a format which would help the customers to access their voicemail through one number from anywhere around. Conclusion Vodafone is one of the most prominent cellular network brands in the world. Even in Australia it is a very recognized brand. As the future of mobile phones lies in 3G technology and Vodafone has the infrastructure to pull of this technology and provide it for its consumers it is still in the forefront of the race to give best technological advances to its consumers.
But in order to keep its customer base and at the same gain new customers it must try to give the customers the very best customer support they can. Apart from which it needs to compete with its competition on the basis of price as customers will naturally gravitate to the service provider giving them the best service at the cheapest price. The voice mail service will give a the brand a distinct differentiation to other brands in this sector. With such minor changes and maintaining the brand image and keeping up the great service and infrastructure that Vodafone is anyways known for over the years, it can not only retain its customer base but also strive harder and be on its way to being the undisputed market leader.