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Vodafone readies HSDPA 3G card for notebooks

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Vodafone is gearing up to extend its Mobile Connect Card notebook mobile phone connectivity add-in line-up with a card that supports the High Speed Data Packet Access (HSDPA) bandwidth-boosting upgrade to 3G networks.

Separately, Dell this week said it was partnerning with Vodafone to bring HSPDA connectivity to future notebook products as an optional extra later this year.

The Vodafone Mobile Connect Card Broadband is based on Option's GlobeTrotter HSDPA card, which the Belgium-based company launched this week. The card provides download speeds of up to 1.8Mbps (the upload speed is 384Kbps), up to five times faster than today's standard 3G networks, Option said. If no HSDPA network is available, the card automatically establishes the fastest connection it can using 3G, EDGE or GPRS.

The GlobeTrotter HSDPA is already shipping in support of the commercial roll-out plans of network operators in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to Option.

One of the first cellcos to offer the card will be Vodafone, which this week began selling the Vodafone Mobile Connect Card Broadband through Mobilkom Austria.

Vodafone UK's official timetable for its HSDPA roll-out calls for the service to be offered commercially by the middle of the year. Dell said it would offer HSDPA as a build-to-order option sometime during the first half of 2006. Its deal with Vodafone is likely to centre on pre-installing the Vodafone Mobile Connect Card Broadband and bundling an appropriate Vodafone airtime package.

Acer, too, has said it will this year ship notebooks with the ability to connect to the Internet via HSDPA, specifically its TravelMate 4260 and Aspire 5650 machines. ®

Option GlobeTrotter HSDPA card

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