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Get a Virgin Mobile Prepaid 3G Modem for $59.88

Looking for dirt-cheap broadband Internet for your laptop? You've found it.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
The Virgin Mobile Ovation MC760 is a cheap way to add 3G service to your laptop.
The Virgin Mobile Ovation MC760 is a cheap way to add 3G service to your laptop. Walmart

Looking for cheap 3G service for your laptop? It doesn't get much cheaper than this: Walmart has the Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go Ovation MC760 for $59.88 shipped (plus sales tax).

As recently as a year ago, this USB modem sold for $149.99.

What I like, and have always liked, about Virgin's 3G options is the lack of contracts and monthly minimums. You pay for airtime as you need it.

That's a huge plus over modems from the likes of Sprint and Verizon, which typically lock you into two-year contracts. (As it happens, Virgin Mobile is actually part of Sprint, and uses the company's 3G network.)

Virgin offers three plans. For $10, you get 100MB of data that you can use over 10 days. That's not much, I admit, but it's fine if you just need to check e-mail and hit a few Web sites while traveling.

For $20, you get 500MB of data across a full month. And $50 buys you unlimited access (though Virgin annoyingly throttles you back from 3G speed if you hit the 2.5GB mark.)

Why buy this instead of, say, Virgin's Broadband2Go MiFi 2200, a standalone aircard that shares its 3G connection with up to five devices? That might indeed be the more practical choice for some users, but the hardware costs more: around $100. Plus, it's another thing to keep charged, whereas the MC760 draws power from your laptop's USB port.

Ultimately, the MC760 is a great solution for anyone looking for low-cost, on-demand 3G service for occasional trips.