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3G/HSPA

Vodafone CEO Talks Up Data Caps

LONDON -- Nokia World -- Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) CEO Vittorio Colao said today that mobile data pricing models have to change and that more caps and tiered services are on the way as he took the stage here at Nokia World in London today.

Operators are looking for new mobile data pricing models because the traffic running on their networks has changed from predominantly voice to data. On Vodafone's network, for example, Colao said that streamed music and video is "the largest part."

"Data costs and pricing have to adjust," said Colao. "We are already providing caps and differentiated level of services... More will come."

"Every class of service must have its own price," he added. "We cannot penalize those who pay more."

Colao also revealed the usage behavior of some of Vodafone's smartphone customers during one month over the summer. He said that one third browsed the Internet from their phones, 25 percent played games, 20 percent used email, 15 percent did social networking, and 11 percent used maps.

As for Vodafone's networks, Colao said that half of his networks are capable of (theoretical) peak rates of 14.4 Mbit/s on the downlink and 2 Mbit/s on the uplink.

For the developers in the room
The Vodafone boss also urged application developers to consider how their apps are designed and to take into account what effect their apps will have on the network. In this context, he suggested that there could be changes in the way apps are priced.

"Pricing should be adjusted to reflect usage and load," he said, adding that an app's network load and usage will be relevant in the future. "We're approaching the end of the 'free-ism' culture. If not, it will be a free, bad experience."

While warning of a potential revamp of today's mobile app business models, Colao also held out a hand to the developers here today. He offered up Vodafone's vast amount of customer information and billing systems as tools developers could handily use as they look to personalize apps and increase their revenues.

"We can help you [developers] because we have lots of customer information on location, device capabilities," he said, noting that mobile apps will need to become more tailored to individual consumers.

He also said that Vodafone has already opened its billing systems to third parties, which has increased the adoption of paid apps.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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