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Vodafone unveils 3G US-compatible datacard

European travellers will soon have a high-speed wireless option that will work with US mobile networks

Vodafone has announced a 3G datacard that its European customers can use in the US.

While the Vodafone Mobile Connect 3G/GPRS datacard — which fits into a laptop's PC card slot — has been around in Europe and other parts of the world for some time now, customers have always had to rethink their high-speed options in the US, given Vodafone's arm there isn't among the US carriers that use compatible GSM technology.

Business account customers in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK will from this year get a datacard that uses EV-DO technology, which is used on upgraded CDMA networks. CDMA and GSM are the two main cellular standards in use globally.

An all-in-one card is still a pipe dream — end users will have to unplug their home 3G card and put in the EV-DO card — but Vodafone clearly thinks the inconvenience will be worth it. Its figures show a quarter of all business customers travel and work in the US.

Vodafone is a 40 per cent stakeholder in Verizon Wireless, which has bet on CDMA, following its acquisition of AirTouch in the US in the late 1990s and subsequent deal with the merged telcos that became Verizon Communications.