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.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags mobile broadbandvirgin mobile

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

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?