If you need temporary Net broadband access while traveling and have the right model of ThinkPad, Lenovo has a broadband plan for you. On Monday, the computer maker introduced a no-contract, pay-as-you-go mobile broadband service called Lenovo Mobile Access.
The service, enabled by a cloud -based platform from Macheen Inc., is embedded in select ThinkPad models that have a 3G module. It's available on those models via one-click access, and is up and running now in the U.S. and nine European countries.
Dilip Bhatia, vice president and general manager of Lenovo's ThinkPad Business Unit, said in a statement that the company wanted "to create a flexible mobile broadband solution that would be unparalleled in its ability to help business users stay connected and working."
Users of the service only need to pay for the service time they use, with a Time Pass that offers connectivity for as little as $1.95 for a half-hour and up to 30 MB of data , or $8.95 for a day and up to 200 MB. The company said this option was targeted at users who need broadband access when traveling.
The company said that it didn't expect the service to necessarily replace most traditional plans or Wi-Fi hot spots, but that it could help business users who need temporary access while traveling.
For regular connectivity, monthly plans are available in increments of 200 MB, 2 GB and 6 GB, with an automatic renewal option. Payment options through a single corporate office are also available.
Streamline Device Management
Lenovo said it has designed the service to streamline device management, increase security and productivity for mobile workers, and reduce operational costs. As one example, the company noted that all ThinkPad laptops with the embedded broadband connectivity have Mobile Access pre-activated in the default configuration.
Using Web-based tools for policy management, IT administrators can customize permissions and access for an entire company, or specific groups or users, and the customization can be tailored to a specific service or app. For global access, a single SIM is used.
Macheen President and CEO Richard Schwartz told news media that "too many mobile users are forced to squeeze into a mobile broadband contract that gives them either more or less connectivity than they need, or they go without entirely." By contrast, he said, this service provides for "tailored connectivity featuring pay-as-you-go rates and customized access."
Macheen, based in Austin and Dusseldorf, helps device manufacturers connect embedded devices to the Net, and it has worked with European telecommunications providers to assist with access to 3G for mobile. In 2011, Macheen worked with Dell to launch another no-contract service, called NetReady.
Lenovo Mobile Access comes embedded on ThinkPad Classic and Edge models with a 3G module, including the L Series, the X Series, the T Series, and the W Series. In Europe, the service is available in the U.K., France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands.