Following in Virgin Mobile's footsteps, Verizon is offering a prepaid laptop broadband wireless service.
The offering will let people pay for broadband wireless access as they need it, rather than subscribing to a monthly plan. It could appeal to infrequent business travelers or people on vacation.
After buying the US$130 USB modem, users can pay for broadband wireless access from Verizon in three different increments that cover time and data consumption. For one-day usage, people will pay $15 and get 75MB of data. Weekly prepaid access costs $30 and includes 250MB. The monthly offer costs $50 for up to 500MB of usage.
Because most people have trouble calculating how much data they use, Verizon offers a chart showing about how many one-page e-mails, typical Web-page downloads and low-resolution photo downloads would be included in each payment plan.
Virgin, which uses Sprint's network and launched its service in June, offers better deals. Virgin's $10 offer gives users 100MB of access over 10 days. Its $20 offer is good for 30 days and allows 250MB of access. For $60, Virgin customers get 1GB that they can use over a month.
Verizon's offer goes on sale from its stores on Nov. 15 and at national retailers, which have not yet been named, on Nov. 20.
Verizon and Sprint both offer subscription plans that cost $60 per month and include 5GB of data.