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Cingular becomes first US carrier to offer worldwide card, plan: The insanely named Option GlobeTrotter GT Max LaptopConnect card handles 850, 900, 1800, 1900, and 2100 megahertz (MHz) spectrum bands, covering GSM, GPRS, UMTS, and HSDPA worldwide. The card will be $100 with a two-year domestic or one-year GlobalConnect commitment. The card also includes Wi-Fi.
The service is priced by countries included in a particular plan. A North American plan includes the US, Canada, and Mexico for $110 per month; for $140 per month you get two dozen countries including North America and Australia, China, France, Germany, England, Japan, and others. These two plans include unlimited data in the US and 100 MB of data transfer in the selected other countries.
Data above the 100 MB is $5 per MB in GlobalConnect countries and $19.50 per MB in about 80 other countries. These overages may appear quite expensive in some ways, but having a defined and consistent rate has its benefits, and should allow control.
Other carriers with worldwide plans require two separate PC Cards. The antenna on this card retracts, allowing it to remain in the laptop while in storage or travel.
It’s small comfort, but T-Mobile has restored its wireless access in downtown New Orleans: This includes voice, GSM, and GPRS, and they’ve enabled free and open roaming for GSM and GPRS data for users of all networks—most equipment will work.
T-Mobile has EDGE coverage across 90 percent of its US network: EDGE is available at GPRS rates, which is $20 per month for unlimited use for existing voice subscribers; $30/month for others.
Vodafone Spain will use Novatel Wireless’s UMTS 3G PC Cards: The Merlin U630 is a quad-band PC Card which supports GMS and GPRS in 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz bands worldwide, and UMTS in 2100 MHz in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. UMTS hasn’t been deployed beyond a test in the U.S. by AT&T Wireless; Cingular purchased the company and plans to skip UMTS in favor of HSDPA and its higher speeds.
Sony Ericsson plans four-mode PC Card with Wi-Fi and Kyocera offers EVDO router: PC Magazine reports on two upcoming options for aiding laptop connections to the Internet via cellular data networks.
Sony Ericsson’s $80 PC Card will include GSM, GPRS, EDGE, and Wi-Fi, with full security support on the Wi-Fi side. T-Mobile and Cingular will likely offer this card for $50 as part of a service bundle.
Meanwhile, Kyocera showed off its EVDO router, a device that routes EVDO connections from the cellular network to local Ethernet and Wi-Fi. This is an interesting option, but it’s worth pointing out that at least two other companies have offered the same kind of product for some months, most notably the Seattle-based Junxion with their Junxion Box that supports a whole host of PC Cards. They’ve been working with a national firm that resells to system integrators, so their pipeline has been running for many months.