Took 'em long enough! Nearly a full year has elapsed between the time that Best Buy announced that its 'Connect' program would support 4G and the time that it actually started stocked 4G gear. In fact, the company actually took the time to sign up for LightSquared's wholesale LTE service a full week prior to making good on its commitment to Clearwire, which may or may not say anything about the future viability of WiMAX. At any rate, those who'd prefer to sift through mounds of peripherals (and be hounded at the exit by employees attempting to hawk product protection plans) in order to buy their 4G service can now do just that. BB Connect stores in the US will offer unlimited 4G service for $45 per month with a month-to-month or two-year contract, and if you choose the latter, the $35 activation fee will be waived and a hardware subsidy ("up to $150") will be yours. So, you digging in, or feeling the tug of Long-Term Evolution?
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Best Buy ConnectSM Launches 4G Mobile Broadband Service Via Clearwire

4G mobile broadband connectivity delivers high-speed internet on-the-go on more than 20 computing devices sold at Best Buy

MINNEAPOLIS - March 28, 2011 - Best Buy Connect, Best Buy's mobile broadband service for computing, today announced the arrival of 4G mobile broadband connectivity service on an expanded selection of computing devices sold at Best Buy stores nationally. The 4G service provides consumers with high-speed internet access on-the-go, with service activation, billing, hardware and connection support from Best Buy.

"We're finding that customers increasingly want choice in service providers for mobile broadband," said Jed Stillman, vice president of Best Buy Connect. "Best Buy Connect is an end-to-end option that gives them the freedom to connect virtually, whenever or wherever, and the convenience of one point of contact - Best Buy - for selection and service."

The 4G service offering is available through a strategic wholesale relationship with Clearwire, a leading provider of wireless broadband services and operator of the first 4G network in the country. Best Buy Connect 4G can be purchased as mobile broadband option on 23 computing models from Asus, Dell, HP, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba at most Best Buy stores across the U.S.

"Best Buy Connect, supported by Clearwire's 4G network, showcases Best Buy's leadership in today's truly connected world," said Teresa Elder, president of strategic partnerships and wholesale for Clearwire. "Best Buy is at the forefront of a growing number of businesses that recognize the value a true mobile broadband experience can deliver to their customers. Clearwire's 4G mobile broadband network is uniquely positioned to serve the diverse demands of multiple industries today with a spectrum position capable of scaling for the demands of tomorrow."

Initially, Best Buy Connect will offer unlimited 4G service for $45 per month with a month-to-month or two-year contract. With the purchase of a two-year contract, customers can waive the $35 activation fee and receive up to an additional $150 off select hardware devices.

Best Buy Connect launched in July 2010 to provide customers another option in mobile broadband services, with service activation, billing, hardware and connection support delivered by Best Buy. The Best Buy-owned and branded service differs from traditional mobile broadband offerings by addressing some of the irritations people face in mobile networking, giving consumers more flexibility, freedom, convenience and support with one-stop shopping and selection, a trusted human connection and customer rewards through the Best Buy Reward Zone loyalty program. For more information about Best Buy Connect, visit www.bestbuy.com/bestbuyconnect.

About Best Buy Co., Inc.

With operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, China and Mexico, Best Buy is a multinational retailer of technology and entertainment products and services with a commitment to growth and innovation. The Best Buy family of brands and partnerships collectively generates more than $50 billion in annual revenue and includes brands such as Best Buy, Audiovisions, Best Buy Mobile, The Carphone Warehouse, Five Star, Future Shop, Geek Squad, Magnolia Audio Video, Napster, Pacific Sales, and The Phone House. Approximately 180,000 employees apply their talents to help bring the benefits of these brands to life for customers through retail locations, multiple call centers and Web sites, in-home solutions, product delivery and activities in our communities. Community partnership is central to the way Best Buy does business. In fiscal 2011, the company donated approximately $25 million to improve the vitality of the communities where its employees and customers live and work. For more information about Best Buy, visit www.bby.com.

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Best Buy Connect takes the 4G leap, now stocking over 20 WiMAX products