updated 05:00 pm EDT, Mon June 11, 2012
Prepaid service includes 3G access for 30 minute periods
Lenovo has introduced a self-branded mobile broadband service for its ThinkPad line. Lenovo Mobile Access is a prepaid broadband connection powered by Macheen, which users in the US and nine countries in Europe will be able to use on selected new purchases from the manufacturer.
Connecting a ThinkPad equipped with a 3G module, Lenovo is taking aim at both individuals and business users without access to home, office, or public Wi-Fi hotspots. Charging $2 for a 30-minute "Time Pass," or $9 for a day, the service also has options for 2GB and 6GB monthly plans and automatic monthly renewal in some cases. The UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands will also receive the service, but at different rates.
The time-based charging structure may encourage network carriers to change their own mobile broadband products to suit. Current mobile broadband offerings typically offer either a contract or prepaid block of data for a period of one month or reaching a predetermined bandwidth limit, leaving public Wi-Fi hotspots to offer shorter time slots to customers.