April 2012: my first month as CEO of Vodafone Netherlands was also the most intense period of my entire career. The fire at a major network exchange in Rotterdam meant that, for a number of days, a quarter of our customers in the Rotterdam region were unable, or scarcely able, to get in touch with friends, family, colleagues and business contacts. This was a major catastrophe and made it painfully clear just how indispensable and important mobile networks are in our society, while at the same time also highlighting how vulnerable they can be.

A society simply expects infrastructures to work all the time. Besides investments running into millions of euros, good cooperation within the sector and between the sector and the government is required to be able to guarantee capacity, speed, reliability and security. The lessons that we have learned in this context will be shared. One such lesson was the importance of open communication. We are increasingly engaging in discussion, via dialogue sessions, but also via social media. The numerous reactions received from customers to the video updates during the disruption and the blog on the communication of speeds demonstrate this. As a result, contact with stakeholders is becoming more intensive and more direct than ever before. This gives us an insight into how we can do things better and can lead to a greater understanding and better solutions.


We continue this line in this report. We are focusing on seven challenges that were important to us and our stakeholders last year and are inviting you to continue the discussion of these issues with us via social media.

The prospects within society remain uncertain in the light of current economic developments and austerity measures. For us and the environment in which we operate, the most important challenge is not to let ourselves be swayed by the issues of the day and short-term gain. A long-term vision is necessary to regain customer trust, to develop a reliable and stable infrastructure that can cope with the enormous growth in data anticipated in the future and to offer mobile technology solutions to social problems. We are therefore focusing on:

Vodafone Firestarters talkshow @ MVO Nederland (CSR Netherlands) New Year’s Event

  • Building a great place to work, acknowledging that an engaged and effective workforce is critical to our success.
  • Building the easiest place for our customers to do business, including the service experience but also enabling easy and simple ways to protect, inform and manage.
  • Investing for the future in our network and IT infrastructure, in products and services while reducing our environmental impact.
  • Reshaping the way we communicate with customers to be more playful, connected and conversation-based.
  • Improving both our reputation and the overall reputation of our industry.

An important task in all our activities is to make our contribution to society clear and to enter into new partnerships to bring about a sustainable future.

Rob Shuter 
CEO Vodafone Netherlands

Hightlights 2011-2012