Virgin offers pay-as-you-go wireless USB card

The new service might attract infrequent users who find subscriptions too expensive

A new mobile broadband offering from Virgin Mobile USA could appeal to the occasional business traveler as well as mobile consumers.

Broadband2Go, which runs on Sprint's 3G network, will let users pay for laptop Internet connectivity as they use it, rather than based on a monthly subscription. The USB modem, made by Novatel and the size of a common small USB storage drive, will run for US$150. Best Buy will sell the modem starting later this month.

Armed with the modem, users buy data usage in $10, $20, $40 or $60 increments. But there's a catch: Customers must use the data within a relatively short period of time. For $20, users get 250MB of data that expires after 30 days. The cheapest payment costs $10 for 100MB, but it expires in 10 days. For $60, users get 1GB that they must use in 30 days.

For infrequent mobile data users, the offering could still make sense. By comparison, Sprint's own mobile data services cost $60 per month and include 5GB of data.

One of the biggest barriers to metered data services historically has been the difficulty most people have determining how much data each online activity consumes. Virgin attempts to address that issue with a real-time usage meter that customers can check to find out how many megabytes they have left.

Virgin has also posted a chart with estimates for common activities, although such estimates aren't typically reliable due to the many variables with online use. For 100MB, Virgin says users will get on average five hours of Web browsing, 25 minutes of video or 10,000 e-mails without attachments.

The modem works on computers running Windows, Mac and Linux and fits into a Type-A USB port. It has a microSD slot so users can insert a storage card for transporting files.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Topics: mobile broadband, virgin mobile
Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Compare & Save

Deals powered by WhistleOut
WhistleOut

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?