Dell is now taking orders for laptops with built-in HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access, otherwise known as Super 3G) 3G, as mobile operators start to roll the service out on their networks.
Dell was the first hardware maker to announce 3G-enabled laptops in January, with its Latitude D620 and D820 models. It was followed by Lenovo, which said in February it would build 3G into ThinkPad notebooks such as the T60 and the X60. Both are using Vodafone as their 3G partner.
Dell is now allowing users to add a Dell Wireless 5505 Mobile Broadband 3G HSDPA unit when they order the D820 or D620, for an additional £153 (US$284). The D820 starts at £1,099 inc VAT for a barebones model. The D620 starts at £914 (inc VAT). Both laptops also come with 802.11a/g and Bluetooth options.
The HSDPA unit works on Vodafone's UK, France and Germany networks, according to Dell's technical specifications.
HSDPA, which is said to be up to four times faster than current 3G wireless technology, is in the early stages of rollout by various carriers. Vodafone plans to have HSDPA networks up and running in Europe and Asia by mid-year. Cingular began delivering HSDPA service in some US cities under the brand name BroadbandConnect in December 2005.
In the UK, Vodafone and all the other major mobile operators are planning HSDPA rollouts or trials. Vodafone is to begin in the second half with a trial covering the area inside the M25, with service available only to data cards and HSDPA-enabled laptops.
In the meantime, Vodafone has already launched commercial HSDPA in Germany.