Presently under trial in Spain, Vodafone is testing tiered data services that aim to provide premium users with priority data services together with the intelligent application of ‘fair use' capping.
For customers on Vodafone's €49 per month business tariff, data connections will be made regardless of cell congestion - effectively meaning that non-business users will see their connection dropped in favour of high-paying business subscribers. Currently, the system will usually drop connections to those at the edge of the cell, or operate on a first-come-first-served basis.
However, non-business users will have the benefit of exceeding their fair-use restrictions when data traffic is light. Existing systems restrict traffic to customers who use too much data, but now Vodafone has taken the positive step to throttle the data only if there are other Spanish customers waiting to use it.
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.
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