Vodafone UK bets on network quality with 'try before you buy' offer

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Vodafone's UK arm is putting its network on the line by offering new and upgrading customers a free 30-day trial.

The operator has been heavily criticised for its network performance in recent months, with it scoring poorly in Ofcom's latest report for customer service. It received 32 complaints for every 100,000 customers, three times that of rivals.

A separate snapshot test by Ofcom of network performance across five cities also painted the operator in a poor light. It had the second slowest average download speed, at 12MBps, and second lowest guaranteed speed of more than 2MBps, at 82 percent.

These poor assessments come amid Vodafone's multi-billion pound network infrastructure project, which was launched in 2014. Project Spring has seen more than £2 billion invested in Vodafone's UK network, with £200 million spent in London alone.

Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO, Vodafone UK said “This industry first guarantee, for all new and upgrading mobile customers, truly puts the needs of our customers at the heart of our business. We’ve invested heavily in our network and services over the past few years so we’re now giving our customers the freedom to really test the strength and speed of our network across the UK and, if they’re not totally happy, they can come back to us within 30 days and we’ll cancel their agreement – no questions asked.”

While Hoencamp said this is an "industry first" guarantee, rivals EE and O2 already offer a 14 day cooling off period, where a mobile customer can cancel their contract.

The Vodafone guarantee applies to new and upgrading contracts and pay as you go bundles that are bought through the operator's direct channels in store, online or over the phone.