Acer is in talks with European network operators to supply mini-laptops with built-in 3G.

A company representative said Acer is discussing supplying its mini-laptops to T-Mobile, Vodafone and Orange in Europe, as well as Chunghwa Telecom and Taiwan Mobile in Taiwan.

The Aspire one already comes with Wi-Fi 802.11b/g for wireless access, but the company also left room to install WiMax or 3G modules. WiMax, which is broadband wireless internet similar to Wi-Fi, hasn't rolled out broadly across the world, but 3G networks are up and running in many places, particularly Asia and Europe.

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The 3G module Acer will add allows web access using HSDPA and HSUPA (High Speed Downlink/Uplink Packet Access), giving users fast internet access nearly anywhere, anytime. The Acer representative said no talks have yet been finalised and prices have not been discussed.

The Aspire one is priced at £220 in the UK, but mobile service providers could subsidise part of that cost to encourage people to sign up for a 3G contracts.

Other mini-laptop makers are also in talks with mobile phone service providers, including Asustek Computer with its Eee PC. Taiwan's Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), says it has already signed up wireless service providers in Europe to distribute its G10IL netbook.