Wireless broadband supplier Tele2 is giving up selling to consumers to concentrate on providing an improved service to small businesses that it says will be more reliable than conventional ADSL.

Tele2 is promising businesses uptime of 99.9 percent, a four-hour response time should the service fail and money back if the service level isn't met. This is in addition to the usual advantages of broadband: always-on connection and data transfer speeds from 512Kbps to 2Mbps.

"We've beefed up the package for those small businesses that see the benefit of broadband but are frustrated by the limitations of ADSL," said Tele2 sales director James McCall. "We're targeting businesses that would ideally have a leased line but can't justify spending £15,000 a year."

The service makes it feasible for small companies to host their own websites, set up e-commerce systems for their customers and provide home-working for their employees, said McCall, whereas ADSL is not reliable enough for them to depend on for these.

Tele2's business package is priced at £94.99 a month plus VAT for a shared connection or £39.99 a month plus VAT for a single user. It's usually sold to small businesses as part of a package by a reseller to support, say, a web-based ordering system.

The company connects its customers to the internet via radio base stations. Customers therefore have to be in line of sight of the base station's transmitter. And Tele2 won't set up a base station until it sees sufficient demand in a given area.

But the company won't be marketing this service to consumers any more. Given lukewarm consumer demand and that each Tele2 customer has to have an antenna installed outside their premises, Tele2 can no longer compete on price after the recent ADSL price reductions.

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