The Best Buy Connect service will offer unlimited 4G WiMax service for US$45 a month with a month-to-month or two-year contract. The retailer says customers can waive the $35 activation fee and receive up to an additional $150 off select devices if they buy the two-year contract.
The store will offer the service as an option on 23 different computer models. These include laptops from Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) and Toshiba Corp. (Tokyo: 6502).
The service plan has been in the works for a while. Best Buy and Clearwire announced the strategic wholesale deal in July 2010, but the retailer inked a distribution deal way back in 2005.
LightSquared's CEO announced that the LTE upstart had struck a similar mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) deal with Best Buy at the CTIA show last week. Trials for that service are expected in the first quarter of 2012.
Why this matters Best Buy, which has a massive U.S. retail footprint, appears to be presenting itself as a low-cost 4G mobile data service provider, offering the Clearwire service now and the LightSquared LTE service later. The offerings are likely to be more nomadic in nature to begin with because of the initial notebook platform, but Best Buy also sells plenty of handsets.
For more Dig into the history of this deal below:
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile