by Carlo Longino

Verizon Launches Pay-As-You-Go EV-DO For Laptops

We've decried the high prices of operators' mobile data offerings before, and noted some slight competition that's nudged prices down in the market. Verizon Wireless today announced a new, pas-as-you-go plan for people that buy laptops with embedded Verizon EV-DO modems -- charging $15 for 24 hours' access. It's encouraging that users can do this (as well as sign up for monthly service) right from the laptop, but the price is still high enough that it probably won't attract too many new users, given the proliferation of free WiFi as well as the widespread availabilty of cheaper hotspots and subscriptions. The bigger question is one we've asked before, though -- what's the benefit for a user to have their laptop tied to a single operator? It's nice that this pricing plan lets users take advantage of EV-DO service without a subscription, but what happens if they want to use Sprint's network, or Cingular's HSDPA? They have to pay for a new embedded module, and to have it installed. Operators pay phone users for this lock-in by way of handset subsidies, but few operators look to be subsidizing laptops. Locking users to a single provider and offering them little in exchange doesn't seem like the best way to win over anything beyond early adopters.

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