Want a little more flexibility in your mobile broadband plans? Check out Lenovo Mobile Access, a new no-contract mobile broadband service for ThinkPad notebooks. It's designed to give business users and "prosumers" the ability to purchase access to their 3G broadband network in chunks of time ranging from one month to as little as 30 minutes.
Thanks to Lenovo's partnership with Macheen, a company that specializes in integrating pre-connected mobile broadband into electronic devices such as laptops, select models of the ThinkPad line (beginning with the X230) will feature integrated 3G connections that are ready to be used out of the box.
90 days of access (1 hour per day) will be included with every Lenovo Mobile Access-enabled system. Contract-free plans include 30 minutes of access (30MB) for $1.95, 1 day (200MB) for $8.95, 1 month (2GB) for $45 and 1 month (6GB) for $79. Data-hungry users will be pleased to know that they are no overages -- if your data limit is reached, the service will simply prompt you to purchase another plan. The service can also be used to tether up to 5 other Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
Using Macheen's cloud-based platform, Lenovo Mobile Access will allow users or administrators to customize broadband access on an app-by-app basis, giving businesses the ability to enable access for certain applications (such as email) while restricting access to others. Similarly, the service will feature flexible payment options -- meaning that a business person traveling abroad can pay for broadband access on his work-related applications with the company credit card, while watching Netflix on his own dime.
Lenovo Mobile Access will be launching in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands. The service in Europe will run on Macheen's HPSA+ network, and Lenovo expects users to get download speeds as high as 21 megabits per second. Lenovo says that it hopes to upgrade to 4G LTE in the near future, but could not give a specific timetable for when a move to 4G would occur.