HP to offer prepaid mobile data via Sprint's network

Hewlett-Packard will sell HP-branded prepaid mobile broadband service with its new Elitebook business laptops. The service will use Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) EV-DO network, but does not require a contract with the mobile operator. Instead, HP will act as a mobile virtual network operator by reselling Sprint's service under the HP brand.

The offering works through a new partnership between Sprint and startup Peregrine Network. Peregrine's new Pay As You Roam platform leverages Sprint's network and powers HP's new service.

HP's DataPass service plans will start at $5 for 75 MB of data over five hours, $10 for 150 MB of data over three days, $20 for 450 MB of data over 15 days, or $30 for 1 GB of data over 30 days. Purchasers of HP's Elitebook laptops can select an HP DataPass or use an existing mobile broadband service plan from Sprint or another operator.

An HP spokesman told PC World that the company has no intention of becoming a wireless service provider and is only offering this service as a convenience to its customers. The company currently offers service via Sprint's EV-DO network, not mobile WiMAX.

Retailer Best Buy also offers a mobile broadband service, called Best Buy Connect, using the Sprint Nextel EV-DO network.
That service is priced at $30 per month for 250 MB and runs up to $60 per month for 5 GB.

For more:
- see this release
- see this PC World article
- see this Engadget article

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