Best Buy is stepping up its mobile game and it will offer mobile data with no contracts under its own branding.
Sprint Nextel will be providing the underlying wireless service and Best Buy will be reselling it, essentially making it a mobile virtual network operator. Early reports indicate it will offer 250 MB per month for about $30 and the upper limit will be 5 GB a month for about $60.
These prices are pretty much on par with other prepaid providers like Virgin Mobile, which also uses Sprint’s wireless networks. The service is expected to go live July 11 in nearly every market where there’s a retail store.
For Best Buy, the move is a logical extension of its stronger push into mobile services and products. If it can sell you a 3G-enabled laptop and offer the service too, that’s potentially a bigger profit margin for the retailer and a longer-term revenue stream.
Sprint, like all the carriers, is trying to utilize its data network in multiple ways to generate revenue. It used to provide the data connection for the Amazon Kindle, but Amazon switched to the more international-friendly AT&T bands with its latest version of the e-reader.
The service appears to only be 3G at the moment but I would imagine Best Buy would eventually want to utilize Sprint’s 4G services down the road.
[Via The Wall Street Journal]