updated 09:10 am EDT, Tue July 11, 2006
Vodafone 3G modem
Vodafone Australia is planning to release a USB-based 3G mobile modem that is capable of 1.8 Megabits per second. The modem is expected to be fully compatible with Mac OS X. APC Magazine reports the new modem is only 1.4cm (0.55-inch) thick with a face smaller than the average business card. Vodafone says that the modem will be backwards compatible with GPRS 2G at 384 Kilobits per second. Dave McNaughton Senior Project Manager at Vodafone Australia stated, "The chipset in the modem is actually capable of up to 3.6Mbit/s, which is the next revision of HSDPA," but no timeframe was given. There is also an ExpressCard 3G modem, for compatibility with the expansion slots in the new Intel-based MacBook Pro, planned for release within the same timeframe as the USB version. The USB Modem, due in the fourth quarter of 2006, will likely cost $400 according to McNaughton.
Vodafone is planning the price carefully, "Initially, it won't have the same sales volumes on a global basis as the PC card form factor has today, so I'm sure it will come out at a premium to the card. We sell our 3G PC card for $299, so I'm thinking this device might be somewhere in the range of $399, though we don't have a definite price yet," explained Dave McNaughton. It was also announced that as of yet Vodafone is keeping its efforts restricted to the mobile wireless market, not the home wireless market.