Orange is seeing growing demand for laptops to be sold with mobile network access, as business buyers and consumers seek a one-stop provider for their mobile computing needs.
The operator began selling selected HP laptops in September with either an embedded 3G modem or an external USB dongle, and has also had the HTC Shift miniature laptop with built-in 3G since February.
"We have found a huge appetite from customers who want to talk to a single provider, and we believe a greater number will be connected at the point of sale in future," said Francois Mahieu, director of devices at Orange.
Mahieu explained that support is the chief difficulty for small-to-medium sized companies that need a single point of contact for problems, particularly with connectivity.
However, he added that the carrier had also begun to get calls from enterprise customers looking for a similar level of support.
"We want to present ourselves as the company for business customers to go to so they can connect wherever they are," said Mahieu.
In future, all laptops will have some form of embedded wide-area network connectivity, according to Mahieu, but there is still some way to go before this can be achieved.
"We are at least two years away from everyone in a company being able to use a connected laptop," he said.
Budgetary constraints are holding back the move, according to Mahieu. Replacement cycles are one cause, but another is that communications and computer equipment is often handled by different managers and covered by separate budgets.
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