Gartner: 3G laptops to become enterprise must-have

Laptops embedded with 3G are likely to become a must-have for the business world starting next year because new technologies and better pricing plans are making them more attractive, says research group Gartner. The firm said the high cost of hardware and expensive monthly charges have so far kept the enterprise from investing in 3G-enabled laptops, but that should begin changing at the end of this year, said Ken Dulaney, vice president with Gartner.

"Our standing recommendation against embedding wireless WAN (WWAN) cards in notebooks--except for applications with a clear return-on-investment justification--has been based on lack of global coverage, high costs and poor asset protection," Dulaney said. "However, new technologies and pricing due by the end of 2008 have the potential to eliminate the problems of embedded, wireless 3G notebook purchases."

Gartner says the advent of new chipsets that combine multiple technologies and frequency bands to offer better coverage would make 3G laptops a good proposition for the moderate to extensive traveler in 2009. In addition, 3G operators are beginning to see the value in moving beyond the standard two-year contracts to include daily and monthly rates, much like WiFi providers offer today. Operators are also considering plans for allowing international travelers to use local rates on a pay-per-day basis, Gartner said.

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