Vodafone Australia is putting its 4G network to a very public test in a partnership with Nova Entertainment to play a vital role in the broadcast of one of the radio station's key programs.
Vodafone has invested billions in its local network in recent years in an effort to change consumer perceptions after a series of network outages in 2011, dubbed "Vodafail", led to an exodus of customers.
Begun under former chief executive Bill Morrow and continued by his replacement, Inaki Berroeta?, Vodafone made the network its priority.
In 2015 the mobile service provider grew its customer base to 5.44 million, up from 5.302 million at the end of 2014. Vodafone was aided by TPG Telecom moving its mobile customers across from Optus.
The partnership with Nova Entertainment, where Vodafone's 4G network will be responsible for taking the radio station's signal from the studio, as well as a touring bus, to the radio tower for broadcast over FM radio.
Starting on Monday, Nova's national drive show, from 4pm to 6pm, Monday to Friday, starring Kate Ritchie, Tim Blackwell and Marty Sheargold will be broadcast this way for the next six weeks.
Regular practice involves a cable between the studio and the radio tower.
"The Vodafone network over the past years has improved tremendously. We've been looking at ways to get customers and people in the country more aware of that without doing just another advertising campaign," Vodafone chief technology officer Benoit Hanssen told The Australian Financial Review.
"Radio programs, because there are some many people listening at the same time, it's really important that have continous transmission with no hiccups."
Mr Hanssen acknowledged that the move is not without risk.
"The risk that most people would immediately think about is if you have a network outage is that the signal will be cut. On the other hand, we are very confident. We have several layers of redundancy across the network," he said.
"The studio of Nova is covered by several Vodafone sites ... if one of them goes out of service the signal is picked up by other sites."
Vodafone will have a marketing spend on Nova for the period and the bus will be used during the show to stop by Vodafone stores and talk with people on air.
"This is a proof point to really show customers and the wider audience that it's not just talk and commercials, but our network really has the reliability that we talk about," Mr Bennoit said.
"We've got sufficient capacity across the network, so we don't expect any issues. We have not done any special configuration other than testing to make sure it will work."
Nova Entertainment group sales director Peter Charlton said the Kate, Tim and Marty show was a major program for the broadcaster but he was confident about Vodafone's network.
"It's a big audience and their brand of entertainment is very engaging but pretty unpredictable ... the perfect environment to test the reliability of the Vodafone network," Mr Charlton told the Financial Review.
He said the partnership with Vodafone showed that Nova is not just a media supplier but can work in complex ways with advertisers to create unique content.
"For us to deliver this well, is important," Mr Charlton said.
"This campaign with the depth of integration has lots of layers. It's something that we want to be known for and we want to demonstrate that.
"We've tested this, we've prepared and demonstrated it for many weeks. Our technology guys have invested loads of time working with Vodafone."
Source : afr.com