A 21st is normally the time for a crazy party, lots of friends, and a slide show of soppy, cute, and embarrassing moments across those 21 years. This year, Vodafone celebrates 21 years in Australia, and just like any 21 year old, they’ve had their ups and downs. Overall though, if the customers are the parents in this crazy analogy – just how would you look back on things? EFTM takes the role of parent and toasts to Vodafone’s 21st.
It’s great to be here, celebrating your 21st alongside your family (staff), and friends (customers) and we’re looking forward to a big party (Free International Calls this weekend).
I know we’re all in party mode, but we almost lost you there a few years back, but more on that later.
As a baby you offered a simple 2G mobile service, way back in 1993 with your first tower going live in Chatswood, September of that year.
The idea of a short messaging text service between customers was something exciting in 1996, which expanded to sending those same messages to people on other networks just four years later.
You were the first to launch a prepaid service, and the nipple – sorry, “speechmark” logo was updated in 2001.
When you added data with GPRS back in 2002 I’m not sure any of us could have foreseen what was to come. At the same time it was great to see your name on the side of the Ferrari Formula One Team.
You didn’t know them much at the time, but your partner today (Hutchison) launched its “3” network back in 2003 which took the data offering to a new level, and gave us that first glimpse of video calling which until then had just been the work of science fiction.
Seeing your name on the uniforms of the Aussie cricket team became second nature for us all, starting in 2005, and then in 2007 that huge growth in mobile data usage happened with the launch of the iPhone, while you were out slapping your logo on the side of the McLaren F1 team.
You had that fleeting affair with Crazy Johns which lasted until just recently, then in 2009 you proposed to Hutchinson and you’ve been together since.
It would be wrong of me not to touch on your illness in 2010. Sure the public and media dubbed it VodaFail, but your close friends knew something big was required, you needed a transplant. With new management, new engineers and a huge investment in the network – upgrading all your equipment, you’ve really turned that around. Today, you have a great network. It’s reliable, and it’s fast. Sure you don’t get out to the bush that much like the other guys, but hey – neither do most of us.
Since then, Hutchison has dropped her surname (3) and you’ve been a united couple with nothing but good intentions and great plans.
You’re employing Aussies in your call-centre down in Hobart, and that $5 a day roaming is something special.
It seems clear you have big plans. Not sure what you and Spotify have been cooking up on the weekends together, but I hope it’s something special.
It’s sad that not everyone could be here tonight to celebrate with you, you lost a lot of friends back in 2010, but over time, they’ll hear from your mates and that sentiment will change, you just have to keep plugging away and doing the best you can.
More than anything else, it’s great to see you happy, it’s great to have such a reliable and fast network – here’s to another 21 years.