Vodafone is testing a new system that lets business customers pay a premium for priority access to the network during peak times. The technology, which was launched in Spain last week, means that business customers can choose to pay a data tariff of €49 (£44) a month to ensure enhanced access. Businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on mobile phone applications beyond traditional e-mail data services, but, as the number of smartphones has increased, mobile networks have struggled to cope with thousands of customers using iPhones to watch videos and other bandwidth-heavy applications.
For businesses, the prospect of not being able to use essential applications at the busiest times could be disastrous.
Vodafone’s answer is a traffic management system that promises business customers enhanced service during peak hours. The software system recognises priority customers and ensures that they get the best performance.
Vodafone insists that ordinary users will not suffer poorer performance. A spokesman said that the software tried to “use every scrap of capacity” and all users would benefit.
It will assess the system’s performance in Spain before deciding whether to roll out it out elsewhere.
All mobile access is equal, but some are more equal than others: that’s the implication of Vodafone’s latest mobile trial that invites firms to pay more to get the mobile access they want. Could this be the start of two tier mobile landscape?