Were it not for Helio, Virgin wouldn't be a carrier that we'd associate with anything other than the most basic handsets -- and data cards certainly don't seem like they'd be on any company exec's mind. Thing is, direct competitor Cricket recently got into this game with a $40 unlimited contract-free data plan, so it's a segment that's getting more difficult to ignore -- even in the most heavily value-weighted side of the business. We've nabbed a screen shot out of Best Buy's inventory system that shows a "Broadband 2GO" device (at least, we think that's what it says) scheduled to hit shelves on June 14 for $149.99 -- not the cheapest modem in the world, but again, there's no contract involved here. Data is data, so if the reception's good and the speeds are decent, why not?

[Thanks, anonymous tipster]

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Virgin Mobile getting contract-free data card next month