T-Mobile WebConnect USB Laptop Stick Offers 3G Connectivity
T-Mobile releases its WebConnect USB Laptop Stick in select markets, enabling PC users to connect to T-Mobile's late-to-the-party-but-nonetheless-expanding 3G mobile broadband network. In addition to giving users better connectivity, this development allows T-Mobile to increase its presence in the United States, where it lags behind AT&T and Verizon.
T-Mobile has rolled out a WebConnect USB Laptop Stick for connecting to its 3G wireless broadband network from laptops running Microsoft Windows XP and Vista operating systems.
Once the stick is inserted into a laptop's USB slot, the T-Mobile Connection Manager software is automatically launched and begins looking for a connection.
The WebConnect stick offers tri-band 3G connectivity-HSDPA/UMTS 1900/AWS/2100-so it will work overseas as well. And when 3G coverage isn't available, it connects to the nearest Wi-Fi hot spot instead.
While AT&T, Sprint and Verizon have offered laptop cards for years, T-Mobile had to wait for its 3G network to come online-which it did on Oct. 17, 2008, in Sacramento, Calif. T-Mobile now offers 3G coverage in 130 U.S. cities and plans to cover 100 more by the end of 2009.
Looking like a traditional USB stick, WebConnect offers storage as well, including a microSD/SDHC slot for up to 8GB cards.
Available in a limited number of retail stores, the T-Mobile WebConnect USB Laptop Stick is priced at $49.99, after rebate, with a two-year contract; $99 with a one-year contract; or $249.99 without a contract.
Service plans begin at $59.99 for 5GB of wireless data per month. The Connection Manager software can also help users to monitor their data use. Charges for exceeding the contract are 20 cents per megabyte.
The WebConnect USB sticks are manufactured by Huawei Technologies, which saw a market-share growth of 12.5 percent, or $18 billion, in 2008.