The UK's five mobile phone operators are among a number of companies that have formed the Mobile Broadband Alliance, which is backing the use of HSPA embedded in laptops.

Vodafone, Orange, Telefonica Europe (owners of O2), T-Mobile and the 3Group are joined by PC manufacturers and tech companies including Dell, Asus, Toshiba and Lenovo. The sixteen tech firms have pledged to pre-install mobile broadband into a range of laptops that will be ready to switch on and surf, straight out of the box, in 91 countries.

The GSM Association (GSMA) said its will pre-install "always-connected" capability in new devices, providing a "compelling alternative to Wi-Fi".

The GSMA has also created a Mobile Broadband logo, that will signify to consumers that their new laptop is 'ready to run' mobile broadband. It expects the service mark will appear on "several hundred thousand laptops in the shops by the holiday season".

The GSMA say that integrating mobile broadband into laptops is the first step to wire up previous unconnected devices such as MP3 players, set top boxes, cameras, cars and even refrigerators (hardly the most portable of devices). However, only devices that offer a "truly un-tethered mobile broadband experience" will qualify for the new logo.

"The Mobile Broadband initiative is a timely one in that it leverages the increasingly widespread availability of high-bandwidth networks in both developed and developing economies," said Shiv K. Bakhshi, the director of mobility research at analyst house IDC.

"While there will always be a place for Wi-Fi connectivity, the great merit of Mobile Broadband might be that it liberates the user from the spatial tyranny of the so-called 'hotspot.'"

The GSMA cites research from Wireless Intelligence, which says that are currently more than 55 million people subscribing to mobile broadband services in 91 countries - a figure that is expected to rise by another four million per month by the end of this year. The fact that mobile operators are prepared to throw their weight behind HSPA is no surprise.

Are you getting the best deal on Mobile Broadband? Compare you package against others on the market with PC Advisor's Mobile Broadband comparison site.