In cooperation with Telenor, Lenovo is launching eight new laptop models with built-in mobile broadband, a radio module and GPS functionality from Ericsson. The partnership covers Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
The service uses Turbo 3G, which makes it possible to download and send images and other large data files at broadband speed.
Mobile broadband supplements broadband over the fixed network, and provides the users with the full broadband experience even when travelling.
Taking consumers into a new era
"Telenor and Lenovo are taking consumers into a new era in mobile broadband, where greater accessibility and user-friendliness are core elements," says Hanne Klausen, Lenovo's General Manager.
Integrated broadband means that mechanical wear and tear of the USB port is avoided, the capacity of the battery is extended and reception is improved due to the antenna being built-in to the screen.
Without the user having to do anything, the computers connect to available networks, whether they be fixed LAN, WLAN, public zones such as Telenor's Trådløs Sone (wireless zone), or the fastest available mobile network.
Theoretically speaking, the speed of 3G technology is 3.6 Mbit/s. Telenor plans to increase the theoretical speed to 7.2 Mbit/s next year. In the course of 2008 the network will provide coverage to 86 percent of the population in their homes.
Telenor and Lenovo set the trend
In May last year, Telenor and Lenovo together introduced an offer where customers could order laptops with integrated mobile broadband, if they so desired. This cooperation is now being taken one step further.
The new models come with Turbo 3G and the SIM card factory-installed in almost all the ThinkPad SL, X and T series. The users activate the service themselves. The offer includes a trial subscription for 90 days free access from Telenor, which the customer can cancel at any time. Thereafter, the customer can choose to subscribe to "Fri Bruk" (free use) at NOK 399, "Kveld og Helg" (evening and weekend) at NOK 95 or "Litt Bruk" (some use) at NOK 49 per month.
Norway, Sweden and Denmark included
A Telenor subscription would also give free access to more than 450 wireless zones belonging to Telenor during the trial period. The agreement with Telenor for factory pre-installation of the SIM card includes Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Lenovo has entered into corresponding agreements with Vodafone, AT&T and other international mobile operators in other parts of the world.
Customers who have a Mobilt Bredbånd (mobile broadband) subscription with Telenor will pay a maximum of NOK 80 per day for up to 200 megabytes when surfing in Telenor's network in Sweden or Sonofon's network in Denmark. Once this limit is passed the ordinary list price, which is NOK 15 per megabyte, applies.
"It is important to Telenor that we provide accessibility to mobile broadband in PCs. We believe that through our partnership with Lenovo we have succeeded in giving this to consumers," says Nils Katla, Telenor's Director of Strategy in the Nordic regions.
Intel and Ericsson on the team
The launch includes the T500 and T400 business machines, the ultra portable X200 and X200S, the W500 portable workstation and SL300, SL400 and SL500 SMB machines - all based on Intel's new Centrino 2 chipset.
The radio module is supplied by Ericsson. This breaks a near monopoly held by QualComm on the supply of 3G modules. The radio module also has GPS functionality from Ericsson.
New kind of partnership
"This is the first time we are participating in a partnership with both a PC supplier and a mobile operator in the Nordic region. We are one of the first with such an offer and believe that we will attract new customers and contribute to even greater progress within mobile broadband," says Jan Christian Hole, Telenor's Account Manager at Ericsson in the Nordic and Baltic regions.
In addition to the 3G module (WWAN and HSPA), new functionality such as LED screens and Solid State discs is also available. The new SL ThinkPad series of laptops is well priced. The most affordable models (SL400 and 500) start at a recommended selling price of NOK 5,970 excl. VAT. The most powerful laptop with 3G technology (W500) starts at NOK 25,000.
Expect explosive growth
There were approximately 180,000 broadband users registered in Norway at the end of June. The growth is formidable. According to the market analysis agency, Norwegian Telecom Inc., more than 1.2 million Norwegians will have started to use mobile broadband by 2010.
"With normal replacement frequency being three years, most company laptops and many of those privately owned will have integrated mobile broadband in the next three years," says Klausen at Lenovo.