Vodafone UK is encouraging mobile office use of its GPRS network by supporting the AirCard 750 wireless PC card modem from Sierra Wireless.
The credit card-sized modem plugs into a laptop or PDA, providing always-on access to the web, email, fax, SMS, GSM voice and corporate applications.
International travellers can suffer complicated set-up processes, poor performance and lack of compatibility but these problems have all been addressed, according to Sierra.
"The AirCard is simple to install, easy to use and keeps you connected while on the go," explained Derek Evans, vice president for European distribution at Sierra.
Vodafone will provide the internet access and remote access services. The operator said that the modem achieves speeds similar to that of home dial-up connections.
The telco also claimed that, because billing is based on the amount of data exchanged rather than the duration of a call, moderate usage can mean cost savings.
The AirCard offers tri-band access, so the laptop or PDA can be used internationally without having to change cards.
Vodafone runs GPRS networks across western Europe and in Hong Kong, while AirCard has already gained approval for GPRS/GSM networks in some other countries.
Using such a small GPRS modem, according to Vodafone, ends the need to carry a separate mobile phone or to set up Bluetooth, infra-red or cable connections when accessing the web during a hotel stay, for instance.
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