For users the result should be a simplified account and service management, reduced costs and a single point of contact for service and support. For Vodafone and its resellers, of course, it presents a one-shop, everything-you-need solution that should mean more and easier sales.
Vodafone research shows that 86% of its UK business customers already regard the company as a credible supplier of total communications services.
Elaine Roberts, head of enterprise marketing for Vodafone UK, said: “We believe in true ‘mobility’ – that is, the ability to connect wherever you are, whether it’s fixed broadband to the home desktop or 3G broadband to a laptop out in the field. We are getting a clear message from our customers that they want to consolidate these kinds of services with one supplier.”
The HSDPA service covers the M25 and half a dozen other UK conurbations via Vodafone’s Mobile Connect 3G broadband data card. Full rollout over Vodafone’s whole 3G network is due by the end of the summer; Vodafone customers can also roam over the group’s 3G network in five European countries plus Hong Kong.
Pricing is consistent with existing Vodafone 3G price plans – from £25 plus VAT per month on Data 250 (includes 250Mb of data traffic) with the Data Card available at £99. The Data Unlimited tariff is £45pm, where Data Cards cost £49.
The immediate comparison is with T-Mobile, which is offering unlimited web access (actually a 2Gb limit) for £20 per month on its Web’n’Walk Professional tariff. The data card is free on 18-month contracts, £58.75 on 12-month deals.
Vodafone says it will monitor the pricing situation but still believes that its service and support merits the premium.