The Vodafone Mobile Connect Card is a mobile Internet and email solution for great flexibility and productivity within your business. Simply slide the Mobile Connect Card into almost any laptop (PCMCIA) and install the Dashboard interface software for web and e-mail access outside the office.
Installation is really simple: insert the CD, install, plug the card (most of the times you don't even need to reboot) and establish the connection .
The Mobile Connect Card itself is an Option Globetrotter. It means that if you're on a GSM/GPRS network but not with Vodafone you're still able to find the non-O&M version and use the same features.
The card is a tri-band GSM/GPRS adapter, so it should be usable on any GSM network worldwide. A retractable antenna is included which is sufficient for good reception areas - the card has an external antenna socket if needed. There's also a socket for a headset on the edge of the card. Although the card itself is capable of taking and placing voice calls, this facility has been disabled. This is a GPRS Class 10 (4+2/48kbps+24kbps) device with a 48kbps peak.
You can use your own SIM card or have a specific one for your computer. The problem with the first option is removing the card from your mobile phone and inserting into the PCMCIA card every time you want to connect. Using a specific SIM card for your computer only gives you the option of leaving the card always ready to use. I have no confirmation if you can actually buy the Connect card without a SIM card (I will try to confirm this later!)
The software is on a dashboard style, with information abut your current network connection, data usage, SIM card phonebook. You can easily send and receive SMS from this software, what makes it a great business tool.
You'll be able to perform any operation on the internet - browse websites, send and receive e-mail, VPN to your office's network, etc.
Performance is quite acceptable. It's not a high-speed connection (think of 48kbps dial-up speed, without cables), but for business needs is more than acceptable. You're not playing an internet game with this card! On top of that, Vodafone is to deploy (1st July 2003) the GPRS Network Optimiser. A server on Vodafone's premises will act as a proxy, compressing content before sending it down to the client. This should speed up things a bit!
Remember, some ISPs do not allow other networks to access their POP3 servers (in New Zealand this is the case with Xtra). Other ISPs have no problem with this - just check before you call the carrier's help desk!