Vodafone jumps into mobile broadband

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Vodafone has moved into the mobile broadband space with the launch of Vodafone Mobile Connect (VMC).

Vodafone has moved into the mobile broadband space with the launch of Vodafone Mobile Connect (VMC).

Essentially a wireless modem, VMC fits into a notebook’s PCMCIA slot to give users broadband speed access using Vodafone’s 3G network.

Wherever mobile phone users have coverage, VMC users can gain internet access at speeds of 384Kb/s down and 64Kb/s up, Vodafone said.

The unit retails for $399 and is available with three data plans: $29.96 for 100MB, 49.95 for 300MB and $99.95 for unlimited downloads.

According to Vodafone business general manager, Mark Iles, the product was a new step for the company.

“We think this is a whole new category as until now the conversation has been around fixed or wireless broadband,” he said.

“We’re saying that we’re now in the game and are offering mobile broadband.”

The unit is being pushed out through the company’s traditional phone retailers, but the IT channel with its focus on notebooks, was a particular target, Iles said.

“We see it as a great up-sell opportunity for a notebook sale,” he said.

“Also for the SME market, doing VPN access, security and management for these platforms is a great opportunity too.”

To lure resellers Vodafone was currently offering 20 per cent margin on VMC itself and a $125 commission if resellers connected end-users to its top $99.95 data plan, Iles said.

With Vodafone looking to deploy a 3.5G network next year to take its wireless access speeds up to 1.8Mb/s, Iles said the company was serious about its entrance into mobile broadband.

“Our product roadmap sees us eventually getting to 14.4Mb/s mobile broadband speed,” he said.

“We have 76 per cent year on year growth in the mobile broadband category worldwide so the market is moving towards us.”
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