As from 1 December, Vodafone customers in Portugal have been able to access GPRS services in roaming when visiting Spain or the United Kingdom, using the networks of Airtel (Vodafone Spain) and Vodafone UK.
Vodafone is therefore the first operator in Portugal and one of the first in the world to provide its customers with access to roaming GPRS services. From now forwards, the international coverage of the GPRS service will be progressively extended to serve all customers with phones equipped with this technology.
Vodafone customers visiting Spain or the United Kingdom will be able to use the same GPRS services as are available in Portugal, such as WAP over GPRS (Wap On-line), Internet access via a personal computer or PDA, sending and receiving e-mails, and remote access to various business applications.
GPRS access to Internet/Intranet, databases, applications and e-mail in roaming enables users, quickly and while travelling, to call up and update all the content normally available to them when they are in Portugal, wherever they happen to be.
Access to roaming GPRS services is effected in the same environment as inland calls (i.e. it is not necessary to alter the current user profile for GPRS services). In other words, communication with WAP or Web services and/or remote access to companies (business access) is effected in roaming in exactly the same way as for inland calls.
The services will be charged for purely on the basis of the volume of information transferred (both sent and received). At present, this service is only available to customers on regular tariff plans.
The GPRS technology, launched for the first time in Portugal by Vodafone in September 2000, is a packet-switched data transmission technology using the IP communications protocols used for the Internet. With this technology, the customer is always on-line without needing to establish a permanent phone connection, and paying only for the information sent and received.
By providing the GPRS roaming service in Spain and the United Kingdom, and shortly in other countries, Vodafone aims to retain its leadership of the mobile data revolution and provision of information to customers on their cellphones, wherever they happen to be.