Lenovo, Macheen Offering Mobile Broadband Plans for ThinkPad Users

Lenovo, describing monthly mobile broadband plans as ill-fitting, has teamed with cloud-based Macheen to offer contract-free, need-based global Internet access on some ThinkPads, along with apps and services.

Lenovo is taking connectivity a step further. On June 11, the PC maker began selling Lenovo Mobile Access, a no-contract mobile broadband service through a cloud-based platform from Macheen. The service offers users a flexible, pay-as-you-go way to connect to the Internet when they€™re away from an office or coffee shop WiFi signal, as well as an alternative to cellular contracts from carriers such as AT&T and Verizon.

The service is now available in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands. In the United States, Time Passes for the service are available in several options:

--30 minutes, not exceeding 30MB, for $1.95

--1 day, or 200MB, for $8.95

--1 month, or 2GB, for $44.95

--1 month, or 6GB, for $79.95.

The service alerts a user as the limit nears, whether that's to data or time. There's no extra time and overage fees.

The service is available with the X Series ThinkPads, available June 11, and T Series ThinkPads available July 11. The laptops are equipped with a 3G module and a single SIM for global access, making mass roll-outs a possibility for businesses. With Lenovo Web-based policy management tools, IT staff can customize permissions and access options to cloud-based services or applications, by individual machines or work groups. Payment options can also be centralized and include single-payer, end-of-month billing.

€œThe world of traditional mobile broadband€”expensive monthly plans defined by lengthy contracts€”is a one-size-fits-all-model that meets the needs and real-world preferences of only a fraction of mobile users,€ Lenovo and the Texas-based Macheen said in a June 11 statement. €œIn comparison, Macheen€™s platform enables a uniquely flexible connectivity solution with tailored access and attractive economics, resulting in greater choice for end-users and new monetization opportunities for device manufacturers, value-added resellers, content and cloud service providers, and network operators.

The pair went into detail about the offerings within their arrangement, beyond the contract-free connectivity. These include:

*Always-On Application Subscriptions that let users pay only for the services and applications they want access to, such as email or sales packages such as Salesforce.com, rather than €œpaying for access to the entire Internet.€

*Spot Access, in which users can purchase as little as 15 or 30 minutes of access, or else, hourly, daily or monthly sessions.

* Support for bring your own device (BYOD) plans that include service plans for predefined applications. A variety of built-in policies can be enforced, such as whether a user can buy additional Internet access.

*Sponsored Access is an option in which users are offered limited free access to the Internet in exchange for putting up with sponsored advertising or promotional offers.

€œWith Service by Macheen, Lenovo Mobile Access offers ThinkPad laptop users another way to stay productive with cost-effective connectivity that€™s available virtually wherever they are, one-click access that€™s exceedingly simple, and robust Web-based tools that allow IT departments to easily manage options for a single laptop or an entire fleet of devices,€ Dilip Bhatia, general manager and vice president of the Lenovo ThinkPad Business Unit, said in a statement.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated with additional pricing information.

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