The problem is Vodafone's mix of WCDMA 2100 MHz in the main centres and WCDMA 900 MHz elsewhere doesn't go well with the main prize. The Dell Inspiron Mini 9 is listed on Vodafone's own website as "2100 MHz WCDMA" (it's actually 850/2100MHz) meaning it won't work on 3G outside the main cities.
Yes you got it right: when taking in account 3G coverage the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Vodafone is giving away would work better on a competitor's WCDMA 850 MHz network than on Vodafone's own.
This is the same embarrasing situation they currently have with their Apple iPhone 3G offer.
I know more and more devices will be coming out with 900/2100 MHz WCDMA. But reality is Vodafone can't just replace their current 900MHz GSM gear with 900 MHz WCDMA gear without impacting coverage for their customers still using 2G handsets - which I would think are still in the millions now.
When it comes to 3G wars, the advantage is on Telecom's XT Network side for now. They were able to deploy a completely new WCDMA 850 MHz network that won't conflict with their existing CDMA 800 MHz service - and with the same coverage, something Vodafone can't match on a single network.
People will be able to move to the new network as they wish and there's a clear target for that - 2012. And there are devices out there working on this band already (thanks to Telstra in Australia and AT&T Wireless in the U.S. who deployed this type of network nationwide creating the market).
The rumours are that a new Dell with a 900/2100 MHz card is in the works and should be out soon. Like the Apple iPhone rumours we have to wait and see. Meanwhile some link love to the Vodafone 3G Guy and the ripoff site 3G Guy Goes Rural.
Update: It seems some people didn't like Vodafone asking for their followers to spam Twitter to be in to win a notebook.
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