Seeking to tap into users needing occasional access to the internet whilst on the move, T-Mobile today introduced an "unlimited" pay-per-day mobile broadband offering.
For no more than £4 per day web'n'walk Plus Daily requires no contract. Any user can use T-Mobile's HSDPA network with speeds of up to 2Mbps. However before the user can start actually using the service, they have to purchase a £99 starter pack that includes a USB modem to connect to their laptops.
Users can pay by two methods. The first is the usual PAYG (pay as you go) option whereby users can top up online at the My T-mobile portal or by texting 150 on their T-Mobile phones (if they are a T-Mobile customer). They can also pay at a T-Mobile high street shop. The second option (if they are a T-Mobile customer), is that the cost can be added to their call plan at the end of the month.
T-Mobile describes the service as "unlimited", but a fair use policy still applies and a T-Mobile spokesman said that if a user exceed a 3GB monthly limit, they would recommend upgrading to a premium service. Get the latest internet news at Broadband Advisor.
"The target market crosses multiple segments, but it is ideally suited to the occasional user, or a user not ready to commit to a mobile broadband contract,” said a T-Mobile spokesman. "It is also aimed at international or even just occasional travellers."
Indeed, there is little doubt that T-Mobile is hoping the daily service will tempt the occasional user into signing a far less flexible 24 month contract, and has dropped the prices of its normal web'n'walk plans to provide further inducement.
Customers will automatically be notified if they are using web'n'walk Plus Daily regularly enough to benefit from an upgrade to a web'n'walk Plus contract (reduced from £29 per month to £20 per month) or web'n'walk Max contract (down from £44 per month to £35 per month). Both these plans currently offer speeds of up to 3.6Mbps, but T-Mobile hopes to raise the speeds of its HSDPA package to 7.2Mbps later this year.
Both contracts offer the usual web browsing, email, download, streaming and instant messaging options, but Max includes internet calling services such as Skype. Plus has a 3GB fair use policy while Max has a 10GB fair use policy. Users of these two plans usually get the hardware (ie modem) for free.
"We know consumers value the flexibility of mobile broadband, accessing the internet for all the reasons they love, whenever they want, wherever they are," said Richard Warmsley, head of internet on the move at T-Mobile.
"Now they can try this just £4 without the constraints of a fixed line. When they are ready, we'll happily recommend a monthly mobile broadband plan, that gives them even more value at our new reduced prices."
The PAYG service will be available from the start of November, and T-Mobile denied that it would cannibalise T-Mobile's Wi-Fi revenue streams.
"Our goal is to provide broadband access either via our mobile network or hotspots (T-Mobile has 1,200 hotspots in the UK, 21,000 worldwide)," said the T-Mobile spokesman. "We view it as a complementary service, not an opposing service."