Vodafone's Citrix package offers faster mobile working over 3G

Vodafone has introduced Citrix's Metaframe thin-client software onto its recently launched 3G network to allow mobile workers to...

Vodafone has introduced Citrix's Metaframe thin-client software onto its recently launched 3G network to allow mobile workers to use high-bandwidth applications such as enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management.

Citrix Metaframe allows users to see a mirror image of their desktop from any location using almost any device, but the main obstacle to Metaframe's mobility is bandwidth.

Although Metaframe mobile clients can be used on a number of PDAs and smartphones over GPRS (2.5G) networks, a 3G network can allow users to download files and access databases up to nine times faster.

The Vodafone Mobile Connect 3G service without Citrix costs £23.50 a month for 50Mbytes of data. Users have to pay between £100 and £150 for a datacard.

With Citrix, the cost is £49.50 a month for 50Mbytes of data as part of a three-year contract. This includes a wireless card but there is a £100 set-up fee for each user. Company servers have to be configured to allow them to be accessed by the laptop datacard, and this will be done by Vodafone as part of the price.

Jeremy Flynn, head of commercial partnerships at Vodafone, said, "Citrix Metaframe is a high-quality product and the licence is not cheap, hence the big difference in price between the packages without Citrix and those using it. But this is a scalable product which allows companies to mobilise their workforce."

Vodafone admitted it would be 2007 before 80% of the UK population has access to a 3G network, which is why the mobile cards are configured to offer a 2.5G network when 3G is not in range.

About 30% of the population are currently covered by Vodafone's 3G network. This will rise to 50% by the autumn, said Flynn.

Kevin Bland, head of mobile business development at Citrix, said, "For this type of mobility the key is convergence between technologies. We already have convergence between GPRS and 3G, and we will soon see high-bandwidth Wi-Fi networks interfacing with these to offer an even better roaming experience."

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