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In this series, Computerworld takes a look into the major events of 2009 which shaped Australian telcos.
In February, Vodafone announced it would form a 50-50 joint venture company with rival mobile carrier Hutchison Whampoa, owner of the “3 mobile” brand, and offer services under the new name VHA. It was also announced the combined entity will have some 6 million customers as a result of the merger.
In March, Vodafone launched its online service called ‘[[xref:http://www.myvodafonexpress.com.au/|MyVodafone Xpress]].’ The application, still in beta mode, allows customers to check their account balance, set reminders for bill payment and view up-to-date information on all mobile usage for free.
The first day of May saw the launch of Vodafone's upgraded mobile 3G network, to improve coverage in under-served regional areas. The 2100Mhz network was rolled-out in regional areas, including Albury-Wodonga, Ballarat, Ballina, Byron Bay, Cairns, Darwin, Hobart, Lismore, Newcastle, Toowoomba, Townsville, Wollongong, and Wagga Wagga.
Following a three month investigation, in late May the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) gave the greenlight for [[artnid:305206|the merger of Vodafone and Hutchinson to go ahead|new]].
Also in May, Vodafone HQ announced its [[artnid:302882|desire to establish its own app store|new]].
In August, [[artnid:313828|supply of Apple’s iPhone 3GS was exhausted across Australia|new]], and Vodfaone was on of the major telcos to confirm they were out of stock.
As Vodafone made the transition to move its call-centre operation in-house, [[artnid:319122|the jobs of 400 Melbourne-based call-centre staff were made redundant|new]] in September.
In November, [[artnid:325672|VHA was ordered to make a 'voluntary payment' of $110,00 to ACMA|new]] for breaches of the Spam Act 2003. The payment was part of an ‘enforceable undertaking’ which relates to breaches of the Act that VHA - along with Coca Cola South Pacific (CCSP), New Dialogue and Big Mobile - made during a marketing campaign that promoted certain Coca-Cola products through SMS.