Vodafone has done deals
with at least three notebook PC makers, including Acer, Lenovo and Dell, to integrate
a 3G (W-CDMA) modem inside their portable machines. Vodafone is therefore the first to market in the UK with HSDPA (also known as Super3G) laptop data cards that facilitate Internet connections at 1.4 Mbit/s and upload at 384 Kbit/s.
Rather than buying a separate plug-in remote access solution such as the Vodafone Mobile Connect card, the equipment and SIM card are built in to the laptop during manufacture, so all you need to buy is a monthly data bundle. You can download the latest Vodafone Mobile Connect Dashboard software from the website or you can use your preferred connection manager.
Before you get too excited though, do remember that geographic coverage is still somewhat restricted
. Currently, coverage in the UK is limited to inside the M25, Glasgow, Sheffield, Greater Manchester and Tyneside, but the company is working to provide complete coverage by September 2007.
Prices are not cheap, either. It starts from £25 per month, which includes 250 Mb of data - up to £45 per month for an "unlimited usage" plan. The card itself costs £99 with the Data 250 plan and £49 with the Data Unlimited Plan.