T-Mobile gets into the game of laptop connections

Mar 25, 2009 By PETER SVENSSON , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- T-Mobile USA is opening up its new cellular broadband network to laptops for the first time, with Wednesday's launch of a USB "dongle" that lets portable computers get wireless Internet access.

The plug-in device costs $50 with a two-year contract, or $100 if the buyer is signing up for one year. From then, service costs $60 per month for up to 5 gigabytes of traffic.

The prices are similar to those at the three larger cellular carriers. T-Mobile is playing catch-up to , AT&T Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp. when it comes to building out a nationwide third-generation, or "" data .

T-Mobile inaugurated the network last year for the use of a few phones, most notably the G1 "Google phone." The network reached about 100 million people by the end of 2008, and T-Mobile plans for it to cover 200 million by the end of this year, said Jeremy Korst, T-Mobile's director of broadband products and services.

The USB dongle is made by Huawei Technologies Co., and represents the first order from a national U.S. carrier for this Chinese manufacturer. Huawei has already sold data cards and phones to regional players like MetroPCS Communications Inc.

T-Mobile subscribers using the dongle will get access to the company's network of 10,000 Wi-Fi hot spots at hotels, airports, and Borders book stores. They will also get free access at Starbucks shops, even though AT&T now operates those hot spots. Wi-Fi downloads are generally faster than 3G, and don't count toward the monthly traffic limit.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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User comments : 3

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earls
5 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2009
"service costs $60 per month for up to 5 gigabytes of traffic."

Too much for too little.
VOR
not rated yet Mar 25, 2009
I mostly use home based internet and I have no need for a monthly mobile subscription. If they made a prepaid choice with minutes good for at least a year (like thier cellphone sevice I use in addition to a landline) I would buy it.
earls
not rated yet Mar 26, 2009
Well really, if you could just get a steady mobile internet connection, you could get rid of your cellphone (and all of the excess garbage associated with it) and use a VOIP client on a tablet (netbook sized) computer that supports bluetooth for a headset so you don't have to hold the computer itself up to your ear. ;)

That's exactly why these services are so expensive and so limited - they're dangerous to the current business model of the progenitors.

In time, wireless networks will meet or exceed "landlines" and you will be able to combine all of your services into one device with one access plan.

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