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Virgin Mobile Introduces Prepaid Wireless Broadband

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 10, 2009

On June 10, Virgin Mobile entered the Web access business for laptops by introducing its first prepaid data access offering. For $150, you can buy a USB modem that lets your laptop surf the Web via a 3G network on the go.

Additional megabytes of usage can be added as often as needed with credit or debit cards. You simply buy Virgin Mobile Top-Up cards. A card worth $20 buys 250 Megabytes of data usage good for 30 days; that’s roughly 12 hours of web browsing. This is a fairly good deal: Verizon Wireless offers 250 Megabytes of monthly access, with a contract, for $40 a month.

But Virgin’s is not necessarily the best deal around for all wireless users. Cricket Wireless, for instance, peddles unlimited Web access on the go for $40 a month. Cricket’s offer might make more sense for heavy Web access consumers.

Existing service providers — fixed and mobile — have got to watch out. Personally, I don’t see why anyone would pay Verizon $40 a month for on-the-go access when they can get a better deal elsewhere, without a contract. While Verizon’s network is a lot more extensive, many Web access users nowadays are consumers who never leave their home area of coverage. Eventually, offers like Virgin’s should push down prices on Web access from all providers.

Reader Comments


June 10, 2009 1:30 PM

This is great news for the prepaid broadband market. I get a lot of visitors to my prepaid wireless broadband pages (, and I think the additional competition will be good for customers. I also believe that it will help get awareness out there b/c a lot of people don't know that it exists!

marvin nubwaxer

June 11, 2009 9:13 AM

you've got to be kidding. the deal above SUCKS. and cricket's UNLIMITED means gb/month or you're cut off. stil almost acceptable for NO CONTRACT at $40/mo.

On Full Blast

August 16, 2009 10:45 PM


We are tired of corporate America asking us to make a commitment to their companies when they have no loyalty to, us, their customers. As American consumers we go to cell phone companies for service, not for equipment. Branding another manufacturer’s equipment is just another way for them to bind us into contractual agreements and, to charge us additional monies to use the full features of the equipment, as designed by the original cell phone manufacturer, in an “a la carte” manner.

We need better consumer protection against leveraging our credit rating and worthiness, if, we should become un-employed during the duration of such a commitment.

Therefore, we are asking for legislation that allows us to:

• Purchase our own equipment directly from cell phone manufacturers or without making two year commitments or any.
• Allow us to switch telecommunication service providers without penalty or credit sacrifice.
• Make it easy for us to move our existing telephone numbers to whichever company we choose.
• Advertise which telecommunication companies provide the best coverage in our area, on a specified website.
• Prevent cell phone companies from “piece mealing” services by features that were part of the original cell phone design by the manufacturer.
• Stop cell phone providers from adding additional charges to our bills utilizing abstract names and means.
• Giving us a clear cut way to report cell phone providers who fleece their customers, for immediate remedy, and, for better consumer credit protection.
• Prevent telecommunication companies from designing specialized plans, specific, to certain cell phone manufacturers to abstract more monthly service fees.

Contact your congress member. Keep this circulating.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. 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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