Vodafone announces 3G launch (sort of)

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At last. This is what we have been waiting for. Vodafone has announced trials of a 3G card for laptops. And the good news is that a full launch has been pencilled in for later in the spring. At present laptops use either PC cards or connect with mobile phones to surf the Internet wirelessly at pathetic speeds which can often be as slow as 10kbps.

The 3G Mobile Connect card, which fits into a notebook’s PCMCIA slot, deliver data transmission speeds of up to 384kbps. That’s not that much slower than the average broadband connection which runs at 512kbps.

The bad news is that it is limited to areas where the Vodafone 3G network is available (essentially cities like London and Manchester and along the M4). When the card leaves a 3G area it apparently shifts seamlessly to a GPRS network.

This gives the clearest indication yet of Voda’s 3G strategy. Rather than compete with Three in the video calling market it is rolling out 3G to the business community first and the following it up with some video additions to its Live! service.

We really can’t wait for it arrive.

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