Birmingham International Airport is among the locations chosen by Vodafone for the forthcoming upgrade of its mobile broadband service.

The mobile phone giant claims that the improvements will give customers superfast download speeds some 14 times faster and uploads ten times faster than the standard 3G service launched three years ago.

Vodafone will begin the upgrade in central London and a number of major airports, including: Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, London City, Southampton, Bristol, Birmingham, East Midlands, Liverpool, Manchester, Belfast City, Belfast International, Cardiff and Norwich.

Vodafone UK says it has experienced an unprecedented demand for laptop connectivity since first announcing its £25 mobile broadband flat rate in June.

As a result it will be upgrading its mobile broadband network to support download speeds of up to 7.2Mbps this autumn. Depending on location, the service will offer typical speeds of 1.7MBps to 5.5Mbps.

This will enable customers to download a 5Mb file in around seven seconds - up to 14 times faster than standard 3G.

The technology used is called HSUPA, or High Speed Uplink Packet Access.

Vodafone believes it will be ideal for professional users - such as press photographers - who want to be able to seize opportunities as they arise and send large files to the office as quickly as possible.

Kyle Whitehill, enterprise business unit director for Vodafone UK, said: "More than ever, the speed of our mobile broadband service is helping people make work, work around them, wherever they are.

"These devices are fast but they are also future-proofed - they are ready for our new upgraded network and they are ready for the latest PCs or laptops."

The choice of devices will include a new plug and go USB Modem, as well as two next generation ExpressCards; one that is plug and go and another, more suited to corporate customers.

The USB Modem 7.2 takes on a different design from its award-winning predecessor and is the first 'tri-band 3G' device to be offered in the UK. Vodafone, which now has more than 17.4 million customers, claims it and the ExpressCards are perfect for the transatlantic traveller, permitting customers to use the equivalent of 3G services in the USA for only £8.50 per 24 hour roaming session.

There are also two antennae on all devices, improving performance in weaker signal areas.

The ExpressCard comes in two formats. For the first time a data card will be plug and go, just like the USB Modem, and the other version is more suited to corporate customers.

Both formats are also backwards compatible using an adaptor which customers can place over the card so it fits the more traditional PC card slots.