Trouble with Vodafone: VW brings Deutsche Telekom back as network provider

Photo: Volkswagen

Photo: Volkswagen

That was a bang in Wolfsburg nine years ago. And – literally – a blow to the Telekom office: As it became known in 2012, the mobile operators from Bonn lost their major customer VW to their competitor Vodafone from Düsseldorf after a long cooperation. Around 90,000 VW managers, it was said at the time, would henceforth equip their service cell phones with SIM cards from the newcomer from the banks of the Düssel.

Now the Rhenish empire strikes back. Because, as learned from the VW Group, Telekom is about to make a brilliant return as the second network provider at VW. “With Telekom, Volkswagen AG is getting an additional partner for nationwide mobile communications coverage at its German locations in Wolfsburg, Braunschweig, Salzgitter, Hanover and Emden,” says an internal VW circular that has received. “This means that the employees at these locations will in future make mobile phone calls via the Vodafone and Telekom networks.” The instruction follows: “To do this, the employees concerned have to exchange the SIM card of their business smartphones.”

For Vodafone, this means, in addition to foreseeable business losses, above all, damage to its image. As VW employees unanimously report, there had been repeated abrupt calls on their work cell phones. “Vodafone’s network coverage was and is less of a problem than these sudden dropouts in important calls,” complains a VW manager. Another manager who spends a lot of working time in the home office because of Corona complains: “The Vodafone mobile network works quite well on the premises of our Wolfsburg headquarters. But I live far outside the city, in the flat country, and there the lines are simply not stable enough. ”Of course, this does not only get around among VW employees who use their work cell phones for work-related video conferences in the home office or have to give a personal hotspot on the go.

VW justifies its return to Telekom internally as follows: “The background is the decision by Group IT for a 2-provider strategy at the locations. This promotes competition between the providers, which leads to higher wireless quality, better conditions and additional network capacities for Volkswagen employees. “

VW has already completed the so-called porting at its locations in Braunschweig and Salzgitter. This means that you have to take your phone number with you when you change provider – an extremely important concern of many VW managers, each with hundreds, often even thousands, of contacts all over the world.

The main plant in Wolfsburg is currently being converted. To better understand the enormous size: Here alone, at VW’s headquarters on the Mittelland Canal, around 20,000 SIM cards are to be exchanged by mid-2021. In the further course of the year, corresponding campaigns will start in Emden and Hanover.

VW tries to calm down managers who are worried about high hurdles in the technical procedure: “The Digital Workplace Team is currently providing the employees concerned with detailed information about the switch to Telekom.” And: “Every employee who has a SIM Card exchange is required, you will receive an e-mail with detailed information on how to proceed. “

In the run-up to its 2-provider offensive, VW is highlighting the most significant message by far for executives who are pressed for deadlines and who simply do not have the time to inform all their contacts about a new phone number in bold font: “It is important to mention in advance is that the existing mobile phone number (including BIK number and one-number) is retained for the respective user. “


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