Lenovo locks new 3G laptops to Vodafone

Lenovo locks new 3G laptops to Vodafone

Summary: Chinese PC vendor Lenovo will lock its new laptops with embedded wireless broadband connectivity so they can only be used on Vodafone's third-generation mobile network. 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.

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Chinese PC vendor Lenovo will lock its new laptops with embedded wireless broadband connectivity so they can only be used on Vodafone's third-generation mobile network.

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.

Topics: Telcos, Mobility, Optus, Telstra

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3 comments
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  • Lenovo finally wireless in Australia

    Lenovo has a choice of Verizon and EDGE in USA. Why can't it provide options for WAN in Australia. Limiting the service to Vodafone may have negative impact on the reliability image of IBM, especially with a smaller player like Vodafone. Service should also be offered with a more reliable provider like Optus or Telstra.
    peteloo9
  • Great move!

    I think Lenovo (aka IBM) are making a great move stopping their stupid customers from complicating things by changing telco suppliers.

    I mean look at the wonderful track record they have with offering proprietary solutions in the past. Like the fantasic micro-channel architecture that they captured the world PC market with in the early 90's...Oh, thats right, sorry, the non-proprietary EIDE pretty much stole control of the PC market from IBM which it never regained up until it sold to Lenovo, didn't it?

    On second thoughts, maybe they should let their users decide. Come to think of it, most corporate users I know are fairly tied into a certain telco because of corp contracts, etc. Why would they want to only sell notebooks to Vodaphone customers and not Telstra and Optus ones too.

    Lenovo already has one foot in the grave selling 95% of their corporate notebooks with 40Gb HDDs when you can by a competing unit with 120GB for $1000 less. If they keep manufacturing based on good logistics and backend business deals instead of listening to their customer's needs, they will be broke and bought out inside 12 months.
    stuart4-1dcee
  • Lenova (IBM) how dumb can you be

    Lenova has alienated a high percentage of national corporate and country users in Australia. We are forced to be on Telstra because of coverage, not because we like paying Telstra's extortionate charges. Interesting Lenova think they can afford to throw away such a large and important market sector in laptop sales.
    This is an obvious case of some city living and dwelling person who never gets outside of the city that has no idea how poor Vodafone coverage is. Mobile data requires generally 40% better signal than phone calls, and Vodafone just do not cut it with coverage. Once you are off the major highways of Australia bye bye Vodafone. Levova you have lost us a major client. Hello Toshiba!!!
    anonymous