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Summary:

Virgin Mobile today announced its contract-free pay-as-you-go mobile broadband plan, dubbed “Broadband2Go.” The service, which runs on Sprint’s 3G network, offers a variety of data plans without a yearly contract or credit check, for much more money than comparable contract-based plans. So, is the service too […]

c3_larger1_vmmc76_gifVirgin Mobile today announced its contract-free pay-as-you-go mobile broadband plan, dubbed “Broadband2Go.” The service, which runs on Sprint’s 3G network, offers a variety of data plans without a yearly contract or credit check, for much more money than comparable contract-based plans. So, is the service too expensive to be useful? Definitely not, and here’s why.

Contract-based data plans, from AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, are all about the same price: $60 monthly for 5GB of data, with a two-year contract. It’ll cost $1,440 over those two years, whether data is used or not. Virgin Mobile offers four “plans” with various amounts of data usage, ranging from $10 for 100MB to $60 for 1GB. The data expires after 30 days (except on the lowest plan, which runs out after 10 days), whether you use it or not — no rollover here.

For a light data-user — someone who, say, only wants wireless data on vacation or while on a once-a-year business trip — the Virgin data card is perfect. Why waste hundreds of dollars on a 2-year contract when the card is going to sit unused most of the time? The occasional data user can buy the data card, toss it in their laptop bag, and buy data on their credit card whenever the need arises — without getting hit with nasty overage charges. The card simply shuts off when you run out of data. The Broadband2Go USB device goes on sale later this month exclusively at Best Buy, for $150.

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By Jordan Golson

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  1. Just a quick look at Virgin site, this Broadband2Go product is Windows Only. Not Mac or Linux support.

    1. Hey Mark,

      VMU wants to clarify information about its new Broadband2Go from Novatel Wireless. BB2G only supports Windows Vista or XP at this time. The Novatel Wireless unit does provides drivers that allow the device to be configured to connect on both MAC & Linux. The MAC drivers are preloaded on the MC760 along with a MAC user guide. [The MAC user guide clearly states that Virgin Mobile cannot support that.] However, you can get the device to work on your MAC or Linux machine by activating it first on a PC with Windows XP or Vista. Then follow instructions provided by Novatel Wireless and contact them for tech support. We hope to be able to include a method to activate on MAC in the future.

      Thanks,
      Jon Lorenzini – Virgin Mobile

  2. Jacob Varghese Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    Pricing sucks, but I love the concept.

    If they can fix the pricing, i think this will be very attractive.
    Not sure what the costs are for Virgin.

    I think the the most attractive pricepoint would be somewhere around $30. That’s the additional cost of 3G phone tethering from Att.

    Why not 2Gb of data for $30?

  3. Agree with Jacob….love the concept

  4. This is fantastic for those of us who just want the option 5-10 times per year and don’t want to pay $60/mo with a 2-year commitment! I am absolutely going to sign up for this.

  5. Virgin Mobile Launching a True Utilities-based service? | Etilities.com Blog Thursday, June 11, 2009

    [...] Mobile is apparently breaking the mold and launching a pay as you go mobile broadband plan.  Though this is still in the early stages, we have to applaud the effort as it seems to be [...]

  6. I’ve been using a prepaid mobile broadband service in Europe (Germany at the moment) for a while now. And the offerings are much better. Currently, I’m using an O2 surf stick. I pay only EUR 25 ($34) a month for 10GB. You can pay over to monthly cost and it charges the SIM card and deducts per minute if you forget to top up on your monthly date. You don’t have to top up every month, just make sure you do it on the same day every month if you want contiguous service at the 25/month rate. Sometimes the service is really fast, other times it’s horrendously slow, but I imagine that’s true about mobile broadband anywhere. I use it as a permanent substitute for an internet connection at home because I move around so much that I can’t afford paying off 2-year contracts every 3 months when I hop to another country. Another bonus is each time I top up, I get a bonus 10-20 euros in call credit onto the SIM card that is in the USB modem. I get fairly decent rates using PAYG mobile across Europe (UK, Germany, France, Spain).

    I resent that every time I go home (back to the US), I feel like I’m reverting to some primitive contract system. What call it mobile communication if you’re tying people down with contracts?

    So this Virgin PAYG is a good start for the US, but I fear my home country lags behind in consumer-friendly technology.

  7. mobile broadband Thursday, June 18, 2009

    If you’re looking to connect your computer to the internet while on the go but don’t want to pay the ridiculous prices some providers are charging you should check out Virgin Mobile’s offering.

  8. I suspect the prices will come down whats sad is I have verizon for wifi/mifi and I think Im lucky to break a gig a month. I need it at work because I have no internet access at work and Ive been using it as my backup for work as well. However having now decided to go to sprint for cell/blackberry service the option to keep my service maybe pointless. If the rates come down I cant see keeping my service as Im only using a gig a month roughly anyway it seems and maybe less. Somebody know if there is any rollover with the 1Gb plans or not just curious. (cause rollover would be the ideal situation if ya ask me on the cell side if you add mins you dont lose them)

  9. mike buchan Monday, July 20, 2009

    i agree, not being able to keep the rollover minutes is the only thing thats kept me from getting it up to this point

  10. Virgin’s concept is good but $150 for the adapter is much too high.

    I’m hoping that this is the start of some competition for the pay-as-you go customer.

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