Vodafone tests priority bandwidth service with Dutch enterprise customers

Vodafone Netherlands said it will offer enterprise customers extra bandwidth during peak hours. The operator announced a six-month trial for corporate users that will provide them with priority access in its mobile network.

The company stressed that other customers will not be disadvantaged by this prioritisation, which will be offered free to corporate customers that have subscribed to one of Vodafone's two premium data plans used in laptops or tablets, but not smartphones.

Commenting on the planned trial, ING analyst Jeffrey Vonk told Dow Jones Newswires that such a service could provide Vodafone with a future revenue source. "Consumers are not likely to pay extra for bandwidth, but corporate customers are," Vonk said.

However, Vonk said he does not expect Vodafone Netherlands' main competitor, KPN, to mimic the Vodafone trial given its focus on introducing new rate plans for its customers. Vodafone previously tested a network priority service with business users in Spain.

Separately, Bloomberg reported that a fire at Vodafone's offices in Rotterdam had caused customers in the western regions of the Netherlands to suffer a loss in service. The company reported that about 700 base stations were taken out of service after the fire broke out early Wednesday morning.

Vodafone has five major centres in the Netherlands and the loss of the Rotterdam operation forced the remaining four to pick up the extra load. The company told a local newspaper Dutch News that it was working "flat out" to resolve the problem and expected service to resume later Wednesday.

Richard den Uyl, from BTG, a major telecom user's group, said: "You would expect Vodafone to have a back-up system. Some members are considering submitting a damages claim to the company."

For more:
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Dutch News article

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Data throttling debate heats up following new study results
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