Our network team is a dedicated bunch that works hard to ensure that coverage is reliable at all times. Having said that, occasionally things happen that are beyond our control. In the last few months they’ve battled mother nature, dealt with animal attacks and even journeyed to the land of make believe to keep our network connected. Read on, and we’ll spill the beans on some of the more bizarre situations they’ve discovered, and how they’ve triumphed regardless!
Legendary mobile engineering
A short while ago, we received a call from the land of make believe. No, really. One of Britain’s best-known film studios was on the line, telling us that the cast and crew were having problems with their phones in areas that were usually very reliable, and they couldn’t understand why.
Our engineers jumped into action, autograph books in hand, but what greeted them at the studio gates was more surprising than any celeb sighting.
A gigantic fairytale castle was blocking the microwave link from the nearest Vodafone mast.
The film being made required the construction of a fairytale castle. A gigantic fairytale castle. And the main turret was blocking the microwave link from the nearest Vodafone mast to the crew on set.
It was simple enough to fix: Our engineer adjusted the mast so that it had clearance over the castle and normal service was resumed. They didn’t get any autographs, but still went home with a tale their kids would never believe: They’d spent the afternoon rescuing a princess, or at least, let her make a few phone calls.
Bovine black out
Often, we discover problems before they’re reported. Our Network Operations Centre constantly monitors the network and on one occasion the staff found a transmitter was behaving strangely. We dispatched an engineer to check it out, but perhaps we should have sent a cowboy.
Arriving in the field where the transmitter was located, the engineer was surprised to find nothing more sinister than a herd of cattle, quietly munching away on the grass and trying to look as innocent as possible.
It quickly became clear that the cows weren’t above suspicion. They had been startled by something and, moving towards the transmitter, had inadvertently crashed through a fence and begun grazing on the hardware that connects our base station.
Once on site, our engineers persuaded the owner of the cows to move them along, so equipment could be repaired and we could put a new fence in place. Service was soon resumed, and no cows were harmed in the making of any phone calls.
You can pretty much guarantee that when it snows everything grinds to a halt in the UK. But while it’s OK to be late for work or take the day off school, our customers expect their mobile phones to work.
Not only did our team scale the mountain, they heaved a microwave dish with them to the top.
When the snow came in February our engineers were put under additional pressure from an unlikely location: A problem was reported from some of the villages around Ben Nevis. Not only did our team have to scale the summit of the mountain, but they also had to heave a replacement microwave dish that was required up to the mast at the top.
Some innovative thinking was needed, and rather than struggle up the piste, our engineers commandeered the help of the ski lift to carry the equipment to the top. The plan worked flawlessly and the problem was quickly fixed.
Our engineers travel to every corner of the UK to keep the Vodafone network running. Sometimes, they go to such extreme locations, it’s simply not possible to drive their vans there. This means that we have to improvise and, on some occasions, bust out the big guns. Yes, we’re talking helicopters.
There’s no such thing as a Vodafone Helicopter, so we work with local pilots to help us airlift heavy equipment and engineers into place. Don’t be too surprised to see a chopper come whizzing overhead with a replacement dish hanging underneath it – it’s the simplest way to fix the problem in remote areas, and means we can reduce disruption to residents by avoiding vans and lorries trundling past.
Amused by our team’s engineering antics? Let us know what you think below, or tell us if you’ve ever tackled cattle, fairy tales or ski lifts while getting your job done!