Vodafone to start migrating customers to broadband phones next month
Landline customers will be sent new cordless phones with twin handsets – one of which can be located anywhere in the home – if locating their existing phone beside their modem is a nuisance. Vodafone landline customers will have to make changes to their phone systems when the company starts switching them to internet telephony next month. Tens of thousands of customers who are using the latest version of copper broadband technology, VDSL, will be switched to a voice-calling service that runs over broadband over the next few months.
Customers on Vodafone’s cable networks in Wellington and Christchurch – and on older copper broader connections – will be switched next year.
Customers have been promised “detailed information and support” from Vodafone as it prepares to pull the plug on traditional landline technology. The internet telephony service is the same one that Vodafone already provides to customers who opt for ultrafast broadband. READ MORE:
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Vodafone said in a statement that most customers would “need to do nothing more than plug their phone into the back of their modem”. But spokeswoman Elissa Downey said it would ask customers to get in touch if they had phones in multiple rooms or relied on a phone that was not next to their modem. Vodafone consumer director Matt Williams said Vodafone would provide customers in that situation with a new cordless phone with twin handsets, free of charge.
One “master” handset would need to be plugged into a modem, but the second “slave” handset, designed to ring at the same time, could be placed anywhere else in the home. The changes are coming because Spark is retiring the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) which has been used to make landline calls for the past 140 years. Network operators around the world are making the same switch to internet telephony.
Home landline customers would receive “detailed information and support in advance of the upgrade”, Williams said.
“There are lots of practical issues we are working through, but really it is about creating a digital service for the future.” Williams said internet telephony would bring better quality calls and allow “a more modern experience” with new calling features that could be added down the track – such as the ability to transfer calls between a home phone and a mobile without hanging up. “We’re taking the step of moving Kiwis on to voice over broadband well ahead of Spark’s PSTN shut down by 2022 so our customers can take advantage of the benefits of this technology as it evolves versus languishing on an outdated network,” he said.
Vodafone could not rule out that some older home and medical alarms might not be compatible with its new calling system. Customers would have the option of “opting out” of switching to internet telephony for the duration their fixed-term contract, if they wanted, Downey said. Vodafone will save money by not having to pay Spark for access to the PSTN, but Williams said its new technology also involved an investment in infrastructure by Vodafone.
Although he would not say whether the change would save Vodafone money overall, he hinted calling prices could come down in future, saying “watch this space”.
“For businesses, Vodafone is making it easy to upgrade to the new, future-proofed voice calling over broadband and internet solution by switching to one of their Office Net plans, including two completely new plans,” Vodafone said in its statement.