Vodafone's Mobile Connect (VMC) Card is a GPRS-only Type II PC Card for your notebook which allows you to access the Internet while on the road. The new version of this card is $100 less than when PC World reviewed the service upon launch last year and is stated to be much more stable as it's now made by Sony Ericsson with support for its own software. Vodafone's improved Dashboard software now also supports multiple POP3 e-mail services and other Vodafone card products.
Two forms of service are available: Enterprise (for secure corporate network and e-mail access using Triple DES or 128-bit encryption, and including SMS and multimedia messaging) and Personal/Small Business.
Testing the latter, we were consistently con-nected at 53.6Kbps and able to surf the Web, send/receive SMS messages and e-mail, and access the Vodafone PXT centre for multimedia messaging.
Setup involves first inserting a SIM card into the VMC card itself before clipping on its antenna, which protrudes enough to require being detached when you pack away your notebook.
Vodafone's soft-ware is easy-to-use and you are informed of connection strength and data usage amounts. This is useful because, although the service can be 'always on' (you pay only for data used) and Vodafone offers non-locked in plans, GPRS pricing (see Vodafone's Web site) doesn't usually encourage heavy use.
GPRS roaming and 24-hour support was available in 16 countries at press time. Vodafone claims its network now covers up to 92 per cent of the Australian population. In all, a flexible and different option to alternatives such as 3's 384Kbps NetConnect card service.
In brief: Vodafone Mobile Connect Card
3 1/2 stars out of five
A flexible and easy-to-use service with wide coverage.
Price: $399 (card only, excludes plan and extra usage costs)
Vendor: Vodafone Australia
Phone: 1300 635 627
|Executive Plan||$69.95, no commitment, includes 15MB|
|Power Plan||$150, no commitment, reasonable use policy applies|