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THOUGHT: Vodafone's WebSessions International - the Beauty with a Fault
Posted by Arne Hess - on Tuesday, 25.03.08 - 12:07:27 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 16821x
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I've mentioned Vodafone Germany's WebSessions before, when I used it as my WWAN option during last month's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. With WebSessions, Vodafone Germany introduced a quite handy service which lets you use the Internet on a pay as you go option, with prepaid and postpaid contracts. While it offers unlimited data transfer within Germany (for either 30 minutes, 1 hour or 24 hours), Vodafone WebSessions International, which works in around 35 Vodafone partner networks around the world, is limited to 50 MB per WebSessions (while only the 24 hours WebSessions for 14.95 Euro is available in international roaming).

As I'm currently in Austria with my new Option GlobeTrotter GT MAX HSUPA PCMCIA Modem Card, I've used WebSessions in the A1 network here and it works brilliant. While in this part of the valley where I'm, neither UMTS nor HSDPA is available, Austria's A1 offers EDGE in the whole network which is quite for working remotely:

And 14.95 Euro for 24 hours isn't a bad deal neither, if you use it professionally. Nevertheless, there is no real reason why WebSessions International has to cost 14.95 Euro if the domestic 24 hours WebSessions is now available for 7.95 Euro only but anyway - for professional use WebSessions is an interesting alternative to local prepaid SIM cards. But the 50 MB limit is definitely insane since you reach it too fast. What can you do with 50 MB? An average video on the::unwired has 20 MB, I'm getting press release E-Mails with 2 to 3 MB attachments and most websites are loaded with images and photos. If you just use the 50 MB for E-Mail, it might be sufficient but as soon as you are opening the web browser you have reached the limit quite soon.

I understand that Vodafone Germany cannot/doesn't want to offer the same flat data amount in international roaming as it offers it in its own network but the 50 MB limit is way too restrictive. I would vote for at least 250 MB, especially if I pay 14.95 Euro for a session. Sure, if I have reached the 50 MB limit, I can buy a second or even a third WebSessions but this costs another 14.95 Euro each and then you come to the question of value for money.
It's always frustrating to see how operators create great services which are killed at the moment the service gets a price tag. WebSessions is innovative and quite unique but why does it has to be so expensive/feature limited in international roaming? With prices and limitations like this - we are (unfortunately) still far away from mass-market ready data services but I have some confidence that carriers will get it sooner or later as well.

Cheers ~ Arne


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