Vodafone UK has begun offering Mac OS X drivers for its 3G Mobile Connect Card, enabling PC Card adaptor-equipped PowerBook owners to connect to the Internet at (potentially) broadband speeds when they're miles away from the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot.
Vodafone's 3G card is made by Belgian data card specialist Option, which has had Mac OS X drivers in the pipeline for some time, along with Linux code. Since Option currently offers its 3G cards only through network operators, such as Vodafone, it only makes said drivers available through those partners - and even then, they have to ask for them.
Clearly, Vodafone has had sufficient Mac users knocking on its door demanding PowerBook support to go back to Option and request the code.
The 3G Mobile Connect Card provides access speeds of up to 384Kbps, with good reception and a plug-on antenna - data throughput is likely to be lower with the card's integrated aerial. It also supports GSM and GPRS data connections for regions without Vodafone 3G coverage. The network provider claims around half of the UK population has 3G coverage.
Vodafone's product is currently the only 3G data card available to Mac users. Orange and T-Mobile both offer such add-ins of their own, but none ship with the crucial Mac OS X drivers.
Vodafone is currently charging between £84 and £169 (excluding VAT) for the card, depending on which monthly data tariff you chose. Subscriptions vary from £75 a month to £127, with bundled data totals from 5MB to 450MB. Roaming is extra. ®
Vodafone seeks punters for UK consumer 3G trial
Vodafone promises multi-network moves
PC Card maker touts 'seamless' Wi-Fi, 3G access
Virtual CEO launches Vodafone 3G
Intel preps chip to link 3G, Wi-Fi networks
Orange 3G is go
T-Mobile goes live with 3G in May
T-Mobile to offer 'seamless' 3G, Wi-Fi data service