updated 10:45 am EDT, Wed October 4, 2006
Helio 3G Wireless Card
Since mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) never operate the cellphone networks themselves, they are seldom able to make decisions about the services they offer without careful consideration. This helps to explain the relatively late but welcome addition of a new 3G wireless card as an option for the young virtual carrier Helio. The Hybrid is the first 3G card offered by an MVNO and lets users of computers with PC Card slots connect to Helio's EVDO mobile broadband at rates between 400 and 700Kbps. Hinted at in the adapter's name is the extra ability to connect to WiFi hotspots as needed. If the user installs the (Windows-only) Helio software, the card will automatically switch between EVDO and WiFi to get the best connection speed. Helio says the card is available for free if subscribers choose an $85 per month data and phone service plan.