Lenovo today announced it had started selling the laptops in Australia, touting the solution as a "truly mobile computing environment" offering built-in wireless broadband access at up to 384kbps.
However the company told ZDNet Australia customers would not be able to switch between Vodafone's third-generation (3G) mobile network and those operated by other carriers such as Optus, Hutchison and Telstra.
"Our agreement with Vodafone is that the notebooks won't allow you to connect to a network outside of Vodafone," said a spokesperson for Lenovo.
Lenovo's hardware would certainly be interoperable at least with Optus' network given that Vodafone shares its network with the SingTel subsidiary under a joint development arrangement.
The move is a blow to Australian consumers who have consistently demonstrated their interest in being able to switch carriers as more competitive offerings come on the market.
The popularity of the mobile number portability scheme is just one example of this trend.
Lenovo also said the laptops' firmware could be upgraded by software to take advantage of the higher speed HSDPA wireless broadband standard.
Vodafone has flagged plans to eventually provide HSDPA services on the back of its network, as have Hutchison and Telstra.
Vodafone's network currently extends to select metropolitan areas in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, in addition to airports in those cities and Adelaide and Perth.