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