"Best Buy Connect," as the service is called, allows roaming laptop users paying $59.99 per month to consume up to 5 gigabytes of data. The lowest-cost plan charges $29.99 per month for 250 megabytes of data, equal to more than 85,000 emails or 17 YouTube videos. No contract is required, and customers can get technical support via phone, online, or in-store, Best Buy says in a Q&A document at its website.
But Sprint is the real winner here. By giving computer users a glimpse of what it's like to have anytime, anywhere access to the Web, it'll increase hunger for the WiMAX service it's delivering in concert with Clearwire
At the same time, AT&T
Why? Look at the page for AT&T's Laptop Connect service. You'd be hard pressed to find pricing on an otherwise crowded page. It's almost as if the company doesn't want to sell you Laptop Connect, which makes no sense with 4G services on the way and AT&T Wi-Fi now freely available through partners Starbucks
Yet AT&T may not have a choice. With the iPad selling briskly and the controversial and network-challenged iPhone 4 already sold out, AT&T may not have the capacity to provide 3G data service to laptop customers.
So be it. As of today, Best Buy and Sprint Nextel are ready to fill the void. Will they succeed? Take the debate to the comments box below.
Best Buy and Sprint Nextel are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Best Buy and Starbucks are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Motley Fool Options has recommended a bull call spread position for Best Buy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool owns shares of Best Buy and is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is reconnecting with old friends today.