Virgin Mobile USA has announced no-contract Broadband2Go plans that offer mobile broadband users an interesting, though expensive option over standard large-carrier contract plans.
Using the Sprint EVDO Rev. A network, Virgin Mobile is offering the Novatel Ovation MC760 USB dongle for $150 and pre-paid data in increments of 100MB, 250MB, 500MB and 1GB. As one might expect there’s a handy website to keep users abreast of how much data they’ve used and how much data typical activities are likely to require.
The catch appears to be that paid-for but unused data ‘disappears’ in as little as 10 days, with 1GB buyers getting 30 days to use their paid allotment. At $60 for 1GB Virgin Mobile charges 5 times the rate customers of the major carriers pay, with the only apparent benefit being that one is not locked into the standard two year contract.
This arrangement could be attractive to some who might need access to mobile broadband on a highly intermittent basis, but at the data rates they aim to charge it seems doubtful Virgin Mobile will attract anyone with a consistent need for wireless connectivity.