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Prepaid Broadband Access Coming Right Up

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 02, 2008

Up till now, we could only get prepaid phone cards and prepaid cell phones. Now, the idea of prepaid broadband access is taking off. Starting in May, start-up Xanadoo will start offering WiMax broadband access as a prepaid service. An outfit called Slingshot will roll out prepaid broadband service beginning in June.

I think that’s a great idea, and one that may appeal to a lot of different market segments, from retirees and students to people who are watching their spending. Users would be able to easily turn off their service when going on vacation, or when spending the winter in Florida. College students will turn off broadband while heading home for the summer.

While mainstream broadband providers do have special offers for students and migrants already, they’ve not yet done a good job marketing them. And their customers still have to sign long-term contracts. I’ll take a broadband service without a contract any time — if the price is right. And prepaid service providers’ prices promise to be only slightly higher vs. traditional cable and DSL.

Prepaid broadband players have to prove that they can make ends meet, however. Most users of prepaid services are budget conscious. While prepaid wireless service providers like Virgin Mobile are still around, many of its rivals have gone under in the past year. Only today, prepaid wireless service provider Movida Cellular filed for bankruptcy. Will prepaid broadband providers fare better? We’ll have to wait and see.

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Reader Comments

scott smith

August 7, 2008 01:26 AM

Give us a try:


November 5, 2008 12:36 AM

I couldn't agree more. I hope that these companies have developed business models that are profitable and sustainable. There are a small handful of providers in the U.S. worth comparing if you're seeking a prepaid broadband service. I recommend that you make sure they have a trial period, so if you don't the service you can get back your investment in the broadband card/modem.

You can find a list of providers here:




August 21, 2009 04:12 PM

I found one company that offers the prepaid broadband, WifiRents. They allow you to rent it by the week or month and you can choose from Verizon or AT&T for service. I have used them a few times for family vacations and they have been great in keeping me connected. I have no use for a 2 year contract so renting the mobile broadband card from them for the time that I needed it worked great.
I would recommend checking them out.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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