Vodafone Group has launched its data-only 3G service in the UK, with an introductory offer that multiplies users' monthly data limit by two, offering them up to a Gigabyte of download per month for £85. The phoneless, data-orientated service is otherwise much as predicted.
The Vodafone service offers up to 384 kbit/s downstream and 64 kbit/s upstream, using a data card that will sell for £180. The monthly cost ranges from £10 a month for a "low user" to £85 a month for a "power user".
The differentiation of the services is in the amount of data that can be downloaded without a surcharge. For the next six months, low users can transfer up to 10 megabytes per month, while power users can have a whole gigabyte. In October the "real" pricing kicks in, and those figures are halved.
The 3G service will, initially, only cover 30% of the UK population - those in cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Liverpool, Belfast, Cardiff, Leicester, Nottingham, Southampton and Portsmouth, as well as the M25 and the M4.
Outside that area, the card will operate on GPRS - and Vodafone promises the handover will be seamless. The company aims to reach half the UK population by the end of the year.
There are two versions of the service. Internet Access is for for personal and small business use, while Remote Access, sold by Vodafone's business channels, hooks users up to their own corporate networks.
Peter Judge writes for Techworld.com