The US division of China's ZTE and mobile phone carrier Verizon Wireless have launched the AD3700, a high speed USB Mobile Broadband modem which quickly connects to the fastest possible network wherever in the world you find yourself. It's compatible with modern versions of Windows, connects to your laptop via swivel hinge USB 2.0 and, according to the tech company partnership, should prove a great option for staying connected while on the go.
The AD3700 is light (1.6oz), fairly compact (3.1in x 1.7in x 0.5in) and provides easy access to mobile broadband networks in over 175 world-wide destinations via, as stated in the product documentation, "Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO), Global System for Mobile communications (GSM)/General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)/Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE) and High Speed Packet Access (HSPA)/Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) wireless platforms."
Operating on Windows Vista/XP/2000, the device runs on the Verizon Wireless' high speed network using EV-DO Revision A technology and, once plugged in, should quickly and automatically detect all available local networks and select the fastest speed available.
The AD3700 costs USD$79.99 (after a USD$50 rebate on signing a 2-year plan with the mobile provider) and users will need to activate the global feature on their account, so what advantage it offers over simply locating a wifi hotspot (using a built-in or cheap external modem) and connecting to that is unclear. It will depend, no doubt, on how much Verizon charge for the plan you are required to choose.
On the face of it, the only apparent advantage the AD3700 offers is the convenience of not having to search for and manually choose a connection when you arrive at your destination. To find out if this solution will work out cheaper in the long run than simply paying roaming charges (keeping in mind that some network operators offer low cost mobile connectivity and in certain areas you might even get free access), point your browser at Verizon's website.