Vodafone Remote Access provides travelling enterprise users with an easy and secure way to connect to their corporate LANs to access their e-mail, calendars and other business-specific applications.
The service is available in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. In the coming months, it will be offered across Europe in Vodafone markets that have deployed packet-switched, always-on General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) technology.
With the launch of the new GPRS service targeting business customers, Vodafone aims to kick-start the market for high-speed, Internet-based services ahead of its third-generation mobile broadband service.
A few weeks earlier, the company introduced its Live mobile Internet service, targeting consumers, with the same goal in mind.
In a move to simplify the frequently frustrating process of configuring PC data cards with hardware and IT systems, Vodafone has developed a plug-and-play package consisting of both software and hardware.
Customers can install Vodafone Remote Access software within five minutes, according to the company. The software includes a Vodafone-branded customer interface that provides access to a range of value-added services, such as Short Message Service (SMS) from the laptop.
Customers also receive a Vodafone-branded, customised data card that optimises network access.
With an eye to the time requirements of IT managers, Vodafone has designed its remote offering to be integrated into corporate systems within "just five hours", the company said. The remote access interface provides a control and diagnostic tool for monitoring usage levels. A support portal offers technical support.
Vodafone has collaborated with Cisco Systems to ensure that the remote access product satisfies the security requirements of enterprise customers. The product uses an authentication method for Internet access based on Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) technology and Virtual Private Network (VPN) technologies.
Pricing for Vodafone Remote Access is based on data volume rather than on time.