Feeds

GPRS pricing war breaks out

Vodafone launches with cheaper handsets than BT

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Vodafone has undercut BT on the price of handsets designed to deliver high speed Internet access over mobile phone.

From tomorrow, Vodafone will begin selling Motorola Timeport 260 GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) phones from its shops at £99.99, or half the price of mobile rival BT Cellnet - which charges £199.99 for the same handset.

Vodafone will be offering two price plans, which can be attached to a subscriber's normal monthly pricing plan. A bundled GPRS package for heavy WAP users includes up to one megabyte of data transferral for £7.49 per month (50p cheaper than Cellnet), and £4.99 for each additional megabyte (£1 more than Cellnet). Alternatively customers can subscribe to GPRS for £3.99 extra per month, 2p for each kilobyte of data (the equivalent of a typical WAP page) downloaded.

GPRS phones are designed to offer an "always-on" Internet connection at between two to three times the speed of current mobiles, and are seen by the industry as a stepping stone to 3G, which promises far faster data rates.

BT Cellnet launched the UK's first consumer GPRS service on May 18, though similar services have been available to business since earlier this year. Vodafone launched a service targeted at business in April and was not expected to launch consumer GPRS until September (when a wider variety of handsets are available), but now it has now decided to introduce the technology in the UK ahead of a later group-wide roll-out.

Vodafone's decision to subsidise the price of the phones more heavily than BT could be seen as a way to encourage faster take-up of the technology. However the move raises concerns about profit margin pressure on mobile operators whose £22.5 billion investment in 3G licences is seen as excessive and has put pressure on the share price and profitability of mobile operators.

Earlier this week Vodafone chief executive Chris Gent said 3G would cost his company £10 billion to roll out. ®

Related Stories

Vodafone abandons buying frenzy for profits
BT Cellnet names date for consumer GPRS launch
Consumer GPRS is going to be a dog in the short-term
Cellnet GPRS broadband offering sounds strangely narrow
Orange goes high-speed wireless
Why do we need 3G phones anyway?
3G's rubbish
How much will 3G cost?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
Want to STUFF Facebook with blatant ADVERTISING? Fine! But you must PAY
Pony up or push off, Zuck tells social marketeers
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.