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Voda trumpets UK first for HSDPA cards

That's 3G broadband to you, sir

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Vodafone is first to the UK market with HSDPA - or 'Super3G' - laptop data cards. The cellco opens its doors to customers officially on Thursday, 22 June. But a couple of Reg readers tell us their account managers have already tipped them the wink - one is buying his card tomorrow.

Dubbed 3G broadband cards in Voda parlance, HSDPA cards have three times more capacity than earlier 3G versions. This means fewer 'traffic jams' for users. That is, until everyone starts downloading PDFs and videos. Also the HSDPA are up to five times faster than other 3G cards - Voda claims peak download speeds of around "1.4Mbps and upload speeds of up to 384 Kbps".

Before you rush out to buy the latest in go-faster laptop accessories, check out the geographic coverage. At launch date, 3G broadband is restricted to inside the M25, Glasgow, Sheffield, Greater Manchester and Tyneside. Voda is gunning for complete UK coverage by September 2007. Customers can also go a-roaming on Voda's 3G broadband network overseas. This is currently live in six countries: Austria, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Hong Kong.

Usage pricing is never cheap where data cards are concerned, but as the employer usually foots the bill, what the heck. Voda pricing starts from £25 per month , which includes 250 Mb of data - up to £45 per month for an "unlimited usage" plan. This is subject to a fair usage cap of 1Gb a month. The card costs £99 with the Data 250 plan and £49 with the Data Unlimited Plan.

Vodafone is supporting the launch with laptops containing "its" 3G broadband, supplied by Dell, Acer and Lenovo, through their usual channels. As we revealed today, the sim card on the Dell Voda lappie can be replaced with those of other operators.

If you are looking for mobile networking capabilities, then check out the Vodafone 3G broadband-compatible 3G/UMTS Router, which is available through computer dealers. We don't have prices. ®

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