Wireless carriers have been offering 3G mobile broadband plans for laptops for a few years, but typically if you want to get a cheap or free USB modem you need to sign up for a 2 year contract. Or you could pay full price for a USB modem, which can easily run $150 or more.
Now Telava is offering a USB modem called the Broadband Bullet that’s available for free with no contract required. But here’s the catch: If you pay for a month of service for $50 to $60 and then decide to cancel, you have to send the modem back.
Actually that doesn’t sound too bad as far as catches go. If you know that you’re going to need 3G access while you’re traveling for a week or two, you can sign up, get the mdoem, and return it when you get home.
If you don’t want to deal with that kind of hassle, you can just buy the modem outright for $200 and activate it or deactivate as you see fit. If you go with the use it and return it model, you’ll have to pay a $100 security deposit to receive the modem.
Telava’s $50/month plan has a 5GB monthly data cap, while the $60/month plan offers unlimited data transfer. All in all, it sounds like a much cheaper solution than RovAir, a short term 3G rental service I tested last year.