While some companies have put an end to unlimited mobile data connections on your laptop or other mobile device, Virgin Mobile USA, a prepaid provider, is simplifying its plans and offering unlimited prepaid mobile broadband for $40 a month -- $20 cheaper than what it would cost with a contract on networks like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.
The new plans will offer a $10 package for 100MB or 10 days as well as a $40 package that offers unlimited data use for a period of 30 days. This is a departure from its plans that charged $10, $20, $40 or $60 for various amounts of data. The nice thing about this type of prepaid mobile broadband, called Broadband2Go by Virgin Mobile, is that users can purchase a block of service when they need it (and pay nothing when they're not using it.)
The Virgin Mobile USA network is powered by Sprint, which means it has a rather large nationwide network of 3G and 1X data. If you need to check the service in your area there is a coverage map available that shows the data speeds and coverage.
In the press release announcing the plan, Virgin Mobile called attention to self employed and independent workers, who make up approximately 30% of the nation's workforce, who would benefit from a flexible and affordable contract-free data plan. Prepaid data is also perfect for personal users who may find that they need a connection only from time to time. Another bonus of prepaid? You can share a device with a friend and cut down on the initial purchase price.
Assuming you use the Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go service for an entire year, you would still save $240 over the traditional $60-a-month contract price of data, or $480 compared to a two-year contract. If you take into account several months where you don't need a mobile connection, or just need a short $10 package, the savings can grow greatly.
When compared to the prepaid mobile broadband offers from Verizon, Virgin Mobile's cheapest plan is $5 cheaper, and the Unlimited plan is $40 less per month than a 5GB plan on Verizon.
Virgin Mobile USA offers an Ovation MC760 USB modem for $79.99, which can connect one device to the Internet and a MiFi 2200 Mobile Hotspot for $149.99 that can connect up to five devices to the Internet. Those links haven't been updated by Virgin Mobile USA yet with the unlimited plan for $40, but its Facebook page has the new price.
Virgin Mobile prepaid mobile broadband beats contract pricing by $20