Announced last August and shipping today, Vodafone's Mobile Connect Modem is pitched at anyone who owns an Apple MacBook, MacBook Pro or, indeed, any other modern notebook made by a manufacturer whose products don't have old-style PC Card slots. ExpressCard is all very well, but it won't accept Vodafone's 3G Broadband data card …
... you could buy a Merlin XU870 HSDPA ExpressCard.
I bought one for my ExpressCard "enabled" HP laptop, and it's a fantasic piece of kit when coupled with a T-Mobile Web'n'walk MAX connection.
Service in Hong Kong
This Vodafone service had been available in Hong Kong through its partnership company SmarTone-Vodafone for almost half a year.
The device sells for HKD2488.00 (approximately USD320.00 / GBP168.00), which is less than a HSDPA ExpressCard, like the one suggested by the other reader, Dave Fox.
What I do not like is the cost of the service plans:
Without Contract = HKD100.00 (USD12.84 / GBP6.77) / 50MB
With a Contract = HKD488.00 (USD62.68 / GBP33.00) / month with a 18 months commitment and only available to SmarTone-Vodafone voice plan subscribers.
The Contract plan is restricted from using VOIP, BitTorrent and any video streaming. To add VOIP to the Contract plan one will have to add HKD88.00 (USD11.30 / GBP5.96)
Both plans come with a roaming rate of HKD0.12 (USD0.015 / GBP0.008) / KB.
Mean while other local telcos are offering wireless (WiFi) access at various brick-and-mortar locations for approximately HKD68.00 (USD8.73 / GBP4.60) / month of unlimited access with no contract or commitments.
Yes, the Vodafone service offer the freedom of Internet access anywhere including by the beach in the park or any where the local WiFi access provider is not reachable, but when comparing HKD68/month to HKD576.00 (USD73.98 / GBP38.99); including the VOIP access, plus the cost of purchasing the HSDPA access device. The choice is quite obvious.
Or just use your existing connection
Alternatively, hook your laptop up to your mobile phone via Bluetooth - no extra gadgets, no extra contract (just add data to your voice contract, T-Mobile have an "all you can eat" for just £8/mo I believe). Not only that, but you can use the same connection/contract for more than one laptop and/or PDA.
Works for me anyway.
Available as PAYG in South Africa
Voda's SA subsidiary Vodacom offers this device for about £200 without contract, data at 15p/Mb. And they claim 1.8Mbps.
Until I heard about this I was roaming with a 3G datacard at £10/Mb. Caveat emptor!
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