Fujitsu Siemens laptops get mobile broadband

Manufacturer builds Orange datacards into new notebooks and gives users the option to switch operator

Fujitsu Siemens has become the latest computer manufacturer to incorporate SIM-based wireless broadband into its laptops.

Following an agreement with Orange, Fujitsu Siemens has begun producing laptops in the Lifebook "E" range with built-in 3G/EDGE datacards. They will allow users to connect to the internet at high speeds over 3G and EDGE mobile networks, without needing to plug a separate datacard into their laptop.

Fujitsu Siemens is not the first to go into partnership with an operator for built-in mobile broadband — Dell, Acer, HP and Lenovo all produce laptops incorporating a Vodafone 3G/HSDPA datacard. Orange claimed that its deal is notable for not locking the user into a permanent deal with the network.

"Our research indicates that customers, especially those larger companies with more complex device fleets, simply aren't attracted by the prospect of being locked to a single operator for all their mobility needs," said Neil Laidler, vice president of business services for Orange, on Tuesday.

Laidler went on to explain that the agreement was intended to "make it as easy as possible for Fujitsu Siemens Computers customers to access Orange's best-of-breed built in datacard service — but customers will also be free to choose other mobile operators in the future, without the need to buy new hardware or face the complex task of 'unlocking' existing laptops".

However Vodafone later insisted that someone who buys a laptop containing one of its datacards can also use a SIM card from another mobile operator, as long as they downloaded the appropriate networking software.

Unlike Vodafone, Orange has not yet rolled out HSDPA (a faster version of 3G), opting instead for EDGE (a faster version of GPRS).

However, a spokesperson for Orange confirmed to ZDNet UK that the Fujitsu Siemens laptops would be HSDPA-capable and Orange would be "making an announcement about HSDPA in the future".

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