Vodafone has launched a mobile price plan that allows small businesses to share minutes across employees and to mix and match options such as mobile data, mobile email and tech support.
The plan, called Business Choice, was introduced on Monday. Customers start with a set of basic features, including free calls to UK landlines, free UK calls to company mobiles on the same plan, 150 standard UK text messages and free voicemail retrieval.
Businesses then choose the number of shared minutes needed across the company, from 750 minutes to 8,000 minutes. These can be allocated across from two to 50 users, depending on the number of minutes chosen.
Furthermore, the features available to each user can be customised with one of six options, costing between £15 and £40 per user, Vodafone said. The options cover features such as mobile email, a mobile data allowance of between 500MB and 3GB, the ability to use the phone as a UK modem and access to technical support.
Vodafone is not the only mobile operator to be pitching a flexible plan aimed at meeting the needs of small- and medium-sized businesses. In April, Orange updated its UK plans to allow small companies to change their chosen add-ons, while BT reduced prices on small-business packages in February. In addition, Everything Everywhere, the parent company of Orange and T-Mobile, said that it intends to make a "new assault" on the UK business market in its launch announcement.
Earlier in May, Vodafone rolled out a £10-per-month data plan for companies that want to run Research in Motion's BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express (BES Express) software. BES Express lets BlackBerry users synchronise their email, calendar appointments, contacts and notes with their organisation's Microsoft Exchange or Windows Small Business Server.
With Business Choice, customers who sign up before 15 August will get a £5 discount per user for the next 12 months for options D and E, Vodafone said.
Option D, which costs £27.50 without the discount, gives users mobile email with tech support and a 500MB mobile data allowance within the UK. Option E, which costs £25 before the discount, gives users the same features, minus technical assistance.
Companies on the Business Choice plan also have access to a dedicated telephone account manager based in the UK and access to more than 400 advisers in Vodafone shops.