It looks like HP is getting into the prepaid data game. The company just announced DataPass, a solution that lets you purchase 3G service from your laptop. The service is HP-branded, and that isn't just marketing hype -- the company bought wholesale spectrum data from Sprint and is setting its own prices, effectively turning the PC maker into an MVNO. The no-contract plans start at $5 for a modest 75MB, which HP says is enough for about five hours of use, and stretch up to $30 for 1GB. Look for it as an option across the company's lineup of business notebooks with the Qualcomm Gobi un2400 radio module.
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Sprint and Peregrine Network Announce Launch of Peregrine Network's First Private Label Mobile Broadband Service Operating on Sprint's Nationwide Network

OVERLAND PARK, Kan./San Jose, Calif. May 9, 2011 –Sprint and Peregrine Network, Inc. today announced the launch of Peregrine Network's first Private Label mobile broadband service operating on Sprint's Nationwide Network. The service is now available on select HP EliteBook and ProBook notebooks through the HP DataPass1 mobile broadband service.

"Operating on the 3G Sprint Nationwide Network, the Peregrine Network Pay As You Roam® technology allows users to forget about searching for a coffee shop to use Wi-Fi, to stop paying for hotel Internet services and to avoid the hassle of long-term contracts and monthly bills," said Matt Carter, President, Sprint Wholesale Solutions. "The prepaid mobile broadband service designed for business customers and powered by Peregrine Network is perfect for busy people or anyone who needs wireless Internet access and wants to pay only when they use it."

"Our Pay As You Roam® platform is the basis for this revolutionary approach to mobile broadband data service. It provides easy, over-the-air provisioning, activation, and set-up of devices for mobile broadband service and eliminates the requirement for annual contracts, allowing consumers unprecedented ease of use and flexibility," said Doug Sobieski, CEO of Peregrine Network, Inc. "This launch is a successful culmination of our long-term development efforts in collaboration with Sprint and a major computer industry OEM for our initial service offering."

Peregrine's private network technology provides fully automated "Ready Now" broadband activation. After a free trial, additional megabytes can be purchased as often as needed. The service platform provides a wide range of custom use plan options for OEM's. Customers have a real-time usage meter to monitor and check "Remaining Megabytes of Use" at any time. The user's Account Support feature is designed to provide customers all the tools they need to manage their usage, including help in selecting a plan based on estimates of how many hours of web-browsing, number of emails or amount of video-viewing they expect to need.

"HP DataPass powered by Peregrine Network provides industry leading performance and unprecedented functionality," said Dan Forlenza, Vice President and General Manager for Business Notebooks, HP. "DataPass is the ideal solution for customers who require periodic mobile connectivity, or anyone who wants mobile broadband without being tied down by contracts, hotspots and set-up fees."

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HP launches DataPass to sell prepaid 3G data plans, service piggybacks on Sprint's network