MVNO Voyager to offer tablets, portable hotspots, tethering in Q4

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Voyager Mobile plans to significantly expand its device portfolio in the fourth quarter with the release of tablets, portable hotspots, smartphone tethering and USB modems.

John Mardini, president of Voyager Mobile, confirmed the news in an email to FierceWireless. "The price plans are being completed now and we hope to make another announcement about it soon," he said.

Mardini didn't provide details on exactly which tablets or portable hotspots Voyager will launch, or how much the gadgets would cost. However, it's likely that Voyager will offer Android tablets from the likes of HTC or Samsung Electronics. As for portable hotspots, Mardini mentioned Novatel Wireless' MiFi, though he didn't provide details. Voyager's website also mentions plans to offer "USB Aircards." Sierra Wireless offers USB-capable modems under the "AirCard" brand.

Intersetingly, Mardini also said Voyager would offer "device hotspot capabilities" in the fourth quarter. The service would allow smartphone users to broadcast a Wi-Fi network to nearby devices, and backhaul that connection through their smartphone's cellular link. Few MVNOs offer such tethering services.

Voyager is the brainchild of Mardini, a 22-year-old entrepreneur and New York University student. The company's offering runs on Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) CDMA EV-DO network, Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) mobile WiMAX network, and Sprint's LTE network. Voyager offers no-contract plans starting at $17 per month (plus tax) for unlimited voice and ranging to $39 per month (plus tax) for unlimited voice, texting and data. "Our unlimited data plans are available for 3G and both types of 4G--we do not throttle or limit usage, it is truly unlimited," Mardini confirmed.

That Voyager is adding tablets and hotspot functions is notable; most MVNOs to date have focused mainly on feature phones and smartphones. Only a few, such as Voyager's fellow Sprint MVNOs FreedomPop and Ting, have ventured into the market for devices beyond feature phones and smartphones. FreedomPop, for example, plans to offer iPhone cases with WiMAX capabilities.

As what of the iPhone for Voyager? "I'm unable to comment about the iPhone on Voyager Mobile," Mardini said.

For more:
- see this Voyager website

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