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Broadband ISP Aquiss Accuse Vodafone UK of Incorrect Switching

Tuesday, Apr 23rd, 2024 (10:52 am) - Score 2,720
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In an unusual move, the boss of Shropshire-based broadband ISP Aquiss, Martin Pitt, has today publicly accused rival provider Vodafone of “handling a large percentage of migrations cases completely incorrectly” by treating them as “New Installs” rather than following the correct Ofcom process for consumer switching.

According to Aquiss, the issue seems to largely impact switches that occur across Openreach’s national broadband network (FTTC and FTTP lines). Consumer switches between Openreach based ISPs are required to follow Ofcom’s Gaining Provider Led (GPL) process, which is a largely automated process that starts when a customer contacts their chosen (new / gaining) ISP to begin the migration.

NOTE: The current GPL switching process typically takes at least 10 working days, starting from the date the gaining provider notifies the losing provider (i.e. this gives customers a chance to stop the switch, such as if it was started without their express consent).

Switches like this are usually a fairly smooth affair and should take place with only a minimal amount of downtime, particularly if the type of line being switched remains unchanged (i.e. FTTP to FTTP or FTTC to FTTC) as this should not require an engineer to visit. The customer is not required to contact their old provider for the switch to be put into effect.

However, Aquiss appears to be indicating that Vodafone are now treating a lot of normally smooth migrations incorrectly, which they say can “butcher the current connections” and “results in live assets remaining active with the losing provider, as no formal transfer has taken place.”

Martin Pitt, Managing Director of Aquiss, told ISPreview:

“We are repeatedly seeing Vodafone handling a large percentage of migrations cases completely incorrectly, especially across the Openreach network, treating them as New Installs, rather than following the correct migration transfer path as laid out within the GPL process.

Their approach results in the unnecessary attendance of engineers to properties, who either fit a 2nd ONT or butcher the current connections, where a working service and ONT is already present. This results in live assets remaining active with the losing provider, as no formal transfer has taken place.

If you catch these early on in the process, normally via the customer making contact, Vodafone representation, will often claim this is how the process is done or the losing provider is on CityFibre (even where no coverage exists), completely deflecting their responsibility to make sure orders are handled correctly and trigger, where required, a takeover of live services.

Customers are therefore left in a “they said this” and “they said that” approach, which is totally unacceptable, especially as this process should be seamless. We are seeing far too many examples where this is a normal process, rather than an exception”.

We have reached out to Vodafone for a comment and will report back once they respond.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
13 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Meritez says:

    Curious if Vodafone does this with Cityfibre FTTP connections too, new install instead of migrate existing ONT.
    Awaiting Vodafone to comment, and I’m surprised that they are trying to fob off a long term Cityfibre partner like Aquiss, Cityfibre do have BT Wholesale products when they purchased Enta.
    Sounds like Vodafone sales staff require retraining and OFCOM should be involved with such a poor showing from a big player like Vodafone.

    Of course internally, Vodafone is an absolute mess, they still have not integrated Thus and Cable & Wireless, with separate Account Management for both who cannot talk to each other, real case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

  2. Avatar photo Anon says:

    Neither OpenReach (or CityFibre) to my knowledge allows you to install more than 1 ONT in a premise (although I know OpenReach allows you to switch from a single port to multi-port solution in some cases), so I’d be interested to learn where Aquiss are getting that info, or I could be wrong, but

    Wholesale providers “butchering” connections is nothing to do with the CP, as they aren’t involved in any part of the actual install process, it will happen as often with one than another in the same area doing the same type of orders.

    The gaining provider led process is for takeovers, if there isn’t a takeover there is no GPL process – Whether you place an order for a WLTO or a new line is a choice that all customers and CPs have in most properties. Saying that “VF isn’t following GLP for new services” doesn’t make any sense.

    Lastly, as an almost insider (yes I know you have nothing to back that up with) I can say that VFs systems are a mess, and are limited in the addons and services that can be taken over, resulting in a new line because the existing line “isn’t compatible”, or a new line where there are multiple lines at a premise because it doesn’t know which one to try and takeover – There are also plenty of instances where an order is rejected by the existing CP or wholesale provider for various reasons and is therefore done as a new line (i.e. change of customer/tenancy or an issue with a number port).

    While I wholly agree that Vodafone has a lot of improvements that can be made, this feels like an attack based on a stretched truth.

    1. Avatar photo drevilbob says:

      I have two ONTs from openreach running two seperate services, it is more than possible just requires manual install instructions on the Openreach CP portal.

    2. Avatar photo Anon says:

      Then Voda definitely aren’t doing it, the sales process isn’t done within OpenReach’s systems, only the care teams have access to them and barely know how to use it xD

    3. Avatar photo Meritez says:

      When you order Openreach FTTP, there are two options, use Existing ONT or order new ONT.
      If Vodafone need to retrain their staff, that’s not an issue for Aquiss, that’s Vodafone’s problem at point of sale.

      Vodafone Sales Staff:
      Dear customer do you have an existing service, can we take it over, ticks box, asks for ONT serial number, fills in details, send to Vodafone back office to check and place order.

      Butchering an existing ONT and leaving a existing service in fault by not migrating the existing ONT is Vodafone’s fault, that leaves Aquiss billing for a service that should have been migrated in the Gaining Provider Led process, and Vodafone are at fault for not following process, leaving Aquiss having to bill the customer cease charges and extra days of service for something that Vodafone needs to sort out.
      The other issue is that by doing this, the FTTP CBT could reach capacity quicker and prevent neighbours of the customer from ordering FTTP because the spare lines have been routed to Vodafone’s customer.

  3. Avatar photo Matt says:

    This is nothing new and has been going on for years.

  4. Avatar photo Jason says:

    Not surprised… Customer service of VF is incredibly badly trained, all based in Asia and make false promises and mistakes on a constant basis… Try as far away as possible from this company in the UK

    1. Avatar photo ex-techie says:

      They are not in Asia. I’ve spoken to people in the UK and a significant proportion is in Egypt, in-house and not outsourced. I used to work for sky as well. We had issues like this and it was down to openreach’s API being very unreliable. Manual intervention of orders, provisioning and fault reporting was incredibly commonplace. Openreach blamed Sky and vice versa. Which is hilarious because the other ISPs I’ve worked at over the years ALL had the same problem. I suspect this particular issue is a mix of unclear training and poor openreach systems. Again.

  5. Avatar photo Anon says:

    Vodafone UK often do cease and reprovides instead of migrations. I had the displeasure of them cutting off two lines in the past to activate their services. Both times the Openreach engineers refused to install a new socket, and failed the installation as service was live and working.

    Seems that Vodafone would rather spend the money on sending engineers out and then billing the customer.

  6. Avatar photo Jason says:

    Would also love to know what the advertising standards authority has to say about their recent ad campaign full of false claim that “it’s the same broadband – only cheaper”…
    Clearly they are using a different backbone than BT…
    I guess the regular user doesn’t realise it’s different (and much worse), though

    1. Avatar photo binary says:

      More to the point (of this story at least), BT/EE retail don’t mangle incoming migrations in the way that Vodafone seem to be doing.

      Tempted to suggest that those seeking a cheap no frills broadband service should perhaps go with Onestream instead – it uses the Vodafone backbone, but various reports I’ve read suggest that (perhaps surprisingly) their customer service is both quite decent and also UK based.

  7. Avatar photo binary says:

    Vodafone need to sort this out pronto. Their fixed-line broadband offering is at the lower priced end of the market – but what’s potentially a ‘cheap & cheerful’ service (particularly for those less demanding users) looks like it can turn into an expensive & miserable migration mistake.

  8. Avatar photo andrum99 says:

    Hmmm. That explains why my transfer from Vodafone to PlusNet went awry. An engineer was sent out to my flat, as if it was a new provide rather than a working line takeover. And Vodafone kept billing me for their broadband and phone, which was now physically disconnected from my line. I certainly won’t be touching them again.

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