Best Buy is going to launch its own mobile broadband offering called Best Buy Connect, with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) providing the network service, the companies confirmed.
Sprint spokeswoman Stephanie Greenwood told FierceWireless that Sprint will offer 3G data services for the offering, but not 4G mobile WiMAX service. A Best Buy spokeswoman confirmed the service will launch July 11 and will be available on Gobi-enabled laptops and netbooks sold at Best Buy's U.S. stores. The company said it will release more details about the pricing options on July 11.
According to the blog Engadget, which cited leaked Best Buy documents, there will be several different post- and prepaid pricing options for the service, ranging from a prepaid plan of $30 for 250 MB up to a postpaid plan of $60 for 5 GB.
Interestingly, according to the original Engadget report, the Best Buy Connect service will also use Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) mobile WiMAX network. A Clearwire spokesman declined to comment, and Engadget later updated its post to say that 4G will not be involved in the offering. In April, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse described prepaid mobile WiMAX service as a "possibility," but said no decisions had been made.
Best Buy Connect is another example of Best Buy further enmeshing itself in the wireless business. Indeed, Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn told the Financial Times in April that the company will open another 75 to 100 Best Buy Mobile stores this year on top of the 77 outlets it already has, and will eventually have "a number somewhere between here and 1,000."
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Article updated June 28 with comments from Sprint and Best Buy.