16 members of the GSMA Association, including Microsoft, jointly announced the formation of a Mobile Broadband initiative to endow notebook PCs in 91 countries with 2G and 3G. “The Mobile Broadband badge will assure consumers that the devices they buy will always connect - wherever Mobile Broadband is available - and that they can expect a high standard of simplicity and mobility,” reads a statement this morning from GSMA's chief marketing officer, Michael O'Hara.
The new marketing push appears to be an attempt to sheath a set of abbreviations that has yet to become part of the common vernacular -- namely, HSPA (formerly HSDPA and HSUPA), the software-upgraded "HSPA Evolved," and the GSMA group's hand-picked 3G successor, LTE -- into a more palatable brand name "Mobile Broadband" that consumers can accept. What it may also be is an effort to subtly distinguish HSPA from WiMAX -- a goal which would certainly please Qualcomm, a leading member of the new initiative, with a long record of opposing WiMAX.
The Asus, Dell, Lenovo, and Toshiba are presumably be the first manufacturers to use this service mark on their laptops. While Orange, T-Mobile, Telecom Italia, and Vodafone are among the first carriers to support. Ericsson, however, appears to be the only phone manufacturer currently in the charter group.