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Vodafone UK adds 500mb of internet for all pay monthly customers

Vodafone UK have long been rumoured to be working on a new internet price plan. The rumours were true!

I wasn’t entirely impressed with the 120mb 7.50 ‘bolt on’ for mobile internet when they launched it — as it compared poorly to 3 and T-Mobile’s offering. But it worked, though. I’m using it.

Every customer on a pay monthly contract over £40 or higher will automatically get 500mb of inclusive mobile internet access as part of their deal. No need for the £7.50 plan. A serious, serious challenge to the other operators.

There’s a fair use policy of 500mb which — again, it’s not quite 1GB (as with other operators) but that is a sizable increase — and fair recognition from Vodafone that mobile internet is enough of a compelling offer for it’s customers to add it as standard. They’ve also greatly simplified their billing strategy. This move, I imagine, make people think twice about swapping away from Vodafone — particularly their executive customers.

It also highlights that Vodafone see data as a key offering for the way ahead. I, for example, would be willing to pay 10, 20 or 30 pounds more for high quality data contention ratios or the like — in addition to the default 500mb.

To be clear, I’ve cut and paste the entire press release on the matter below. Very, very exciting.

As Facebook, Bebo and eBay top the popularity charts on Vodafone Mobile Internet, Vodafone UK has today changed the way it structures its price plans to include access to the internet and email on their mobile as an integral part of the monthly price plan.

The move means that pay monthly customers will no longer need to buy an additional internet bundle for £7.50 but instead every plan will automatically include internet access. The new plans will give Vodafone customers reliable and fast unlimited* access to their favourite social network sites, email and the whole of the internet when out and about in the UK. Vodafone customers will now have even greater confidence to browse the mobile internet without the worry of additional charges, no matter what monthly plan they choose.

Price plans start at £25 and customers who select a £40 or higher price plan will also for the first time have the choice of unlimited texts, unlimited landline calls or unlimited Vodafone to Vodafone calls.

“Our customers want simplicity and services that are easy to select, buy and use. Today with our new price plans Vodafone customers have the confidence to browse for as long as they need with no extra costs when checking their e-mail, visiting their favourite social networking sites or making a final bid on eBay,“ said Ian Shepherd, director of consumer for Vodafone UK. “This will make Vodafone not only the network of choice for voice and text but also the internet. And what’s more, all customers who visit a store to sign up to the new plan will benefit from Vodafone’s simple two minute set up for email so that they can leave the store up and running.”

Since launching the internet on mobiles last summer Vodafone has witnessed the growth in consumers’ appetite for email, instant messaging, and social networking as well as more general services such as Google search. Favourites for customers include quick access to Facebook, MySpace or Bebo to share pictures and news, YouTube to check out videos on the move, and fast connections to eBay to make that last minute bid. (see tables below)

Top 4 searches on the Vodafone Mobile Internet (VMI) (ranked by most searched first)

1. Facebook

2. Bebo

3. eBay

4. Windows live Hotmail

Top 10 mobile internet sites on VMI (ranked by most visited first)

1. Facebook

2. Google

3. BBC

4. MSN

5. Bebo

6. Sony Ericsson

7. Yahoo

8. MySpace

9. Windows live Hotmail

10. YouTube

– ends –

Notes to editors

*subject to a fair usage policy of 500MB / per month

The following can be used as a guide for approximate usage, which may vary slightly according to different handset and browser functionality:

· Streaming three 90 second video clips from YouTube would be the equivalent to (=) 4.5MB

· Download one 3 minute movie trailer from Odeon = 3MB

· Browse 50 Internet pages = 1MB

· Find your way to the restaurant using Google Maps = 0.6 MB

· Check for updates on Facebook and upload a message = 0.1MB

· Check your emails and reply = 0.5MB

· Read breaking news on the BBC (4 pages) = 0.1MB

· Place the winning bid on eBay (10 pages) = 0.25MB

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

7 replies on “Vodafone UK adds 500mb of internet for all pay monthly customers”

Ah. So 'Unlimited' now means 500MB. Glad that's clear.

Do I hear 250? 200?

Race you to the bottom of the advertising credibility tree…

/m

Ewan, “all pay monthly customers” may be a bit broad. We small business Vodafone customers seem to be left behind. I am on a small business 300 plan – I get great call rates, roaming with passport, low international rates BUT I have to pay

Ewan, “all pay monthly customers” may be a bit broad. We small business Vodafone customers seem to be left behind. I am on a small business 300 plan – I get great call rates, roaming with passport, low international rates BUT I have to pay £15/month to get just 20MB of mobile internet.

And, I pay £15/month for my VF 3G data card and get 3GB! Why do handset business data users get slugged for mobile internet?

On another (pre-paid) test phone I get 15MB/day for £1 of 120MB or £7.50 per month with the add-on. But for business users – we've been stuck with the same, boring internet data plans for 18 months.

Perhaps the deal will eventually spread to business plans. Generally I spend between £300 and £500 per month as a business user (I travel a lot so data roaming makes the bill higher), but get no relief on the UK data for my handset……

Hopefully the small business plan product manager in Newbury will receive a copy of this from the forums team – or perhaps Ewan can go into bat with a longer article/opinion piece on this.

Ewan, “all pay monthly customers” may be a bit broad. We small business Vodafone customers seem to be left behind. I am on a small business 300 plan – I get great call rates, roaming with passport, low international rates BUT I have to pay £15/month to get just 20MB of mobile internet.

And, I pay £15/month for my VF 3G data card and get 3GB! Why do handset business data users get slugged for mobile internet?

On another (pre-paid) test phone I get 15MB/day for £1 of 120MB or £7.50 per month with the add-on. But for business users – we've been stuck with the same, boring internet data plans for 18 months.

Perhaps the deal will eventually spread to business plans. Generally I spend between £300 and £500 per month as a business user (I travel a lot so data roaming makes the bill higher), but get no relief on the UK data for my handset……

Hopefully the small business plan product manager in Newbury will receive a copy of this from the forums team – or perhaps Ewan can go into bat with a longer article/opinion piece on this.

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