On Monday Vodafone announced that from this Friday customers will be able to buy 120MB of data per month for £7.50. Once they have powered through that heavy users will pay its current standard rate of £1 per day.
This brings Voda into line with 3, T-Mobile, and Orange, leaving O2 out on its own as the only operator without a flat rate data bundle.
This is good news for the mobile internet community. Uncertainty over charging has long been held out as one of the reasons consumer uptake of the mobile web has been slower than we all hoped for. Now we will see how true that is.
The other issues of course are poor quality mobile sites, slow data rates and latency problems. These things are all getting much better and the stats show that mobile internet usage is on the increase – I can’t find a growth figure, but according to Comscore 5.7m people in the UK used a mobile device to access the internet in January (reported by ETC). That’s a lot, and I’m pretty sure that is on the increase.
One thing that is for sure is that now that the tarrif issue is going away we will either see the growth massive uptake we are looking for or we the next bottleneck will be thrown into sharp relief.
For myself, I use the mobile internet more and more frequently – but still find the experience a little slow. To give you an idea I look up sports scores, visit Facebook’s mobile site every other day or so, use the Admob WordPress plug in to blog from my phone about once a week and do the occasional mobile search on Google. I have a smartphone with a full keyboard and a touch screen though, which makes entering URLS navigating websites pretty easy.
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