Soon we could all be using mobile broadband-enabled on our notebook PCs if the latest collaboration between Microsoft and the GSM Association (GSMA) proves successful.

The GSMA and Microsoft are teaming up to carry out research into the mass-market potential for embedded mobile broadband in notebook PCs. The aim of the research is to get a better understanding of customer needs and therefore boost mobile internet usage.

The study, which will involve 13 mobile operators worldwide, is attempting to identify opportunities to increase take-up of broadband mobile technology among mainstream notebook users. Currently, the market for HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) in notebook PCs is predominantly high-end business users, including business travellers, field information workers and road warriors.

The GSMA believes there is great potential for mobile markets among regular consumers, and in emerging markets where mobile 3G/HSPA connectivity could be a cost effective solution for delivering broadband internet access.

Dave Williams, Chief Technology Officer of Telefonica/O2 Europe , commented: "From some of the initial success that we as an industry are seeing using HSPA technology it is vital that we now start to understand what customers of mobile broadband and the mobile internet are looking for, from both a device and service offering perspective. This study will enable us to better understand and ultimately assist in building great service packages that will start to build the mobile internet."