Qualcomm’s Gobi platform will let you access multiple carriers’ wireless data services. With Gobi, you won’t need to have separate cards and/or built-in chips in your notebook to get online.
Qualcomm is already partnering with Sony to put Gobi chips into Vaio P notebooks. Currently, Gobi will work at speeds up to 5.7Mbps which is not shabby at all.
The big question is whether or not carriers like Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, etc will start offering pay as you go or smaller window plans as opposed to the monthly plans that you find today that typically also come with yearly lock-in agreements.
If Gobi gets into enough netbooks, then it should pressure the carriers to do just that.