Vodafone is rolling out an internet access service over GPRS on its network this weekend in an attempt to breathe life into the battered mobile data services market.
The launch this Saturday of its Mobile Internet Access service will see Vodafone subscribers given free software to connect their PCs and laptops to their GPRS mobile phones.
Vodafone plans to make a version of the software available to Palm and PocketPC users early next year.
The service will offer connection to the internet at around 28KB to 32KB; not as fast as land line dial up speeds but fast enough for most applications.
Despite being touted as an 'always-on' service, GPRS has suffered from the Wap backlash and uptake of the technology has been sluggish. It is currently estimated that there are less than 50,000 GPRS users in the UK.
John Fletcher, senior consultant at telecoms researcher Analysys, believes that the Vodafone software has the ability to kick start the stumbling market.
"You will find that, within businesses where mobile data is already being used, you will see not only an increase in usage by existing users, but a proliferation of mobile data among other employees who were previously not willing to tolerate lower dial-up speeds," he said.
Fletcher explained that the increase in data speeds would also attract businesses to mobile data for the first time. More specifically it may attract new users within businesses to mobile data.
Vodafone and Orange have the right idea, he said, in going for a nationwide offering, in contrast with mmo2 (formerly BT Cellnet) which is confining its coverage to certain urban areas.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago