Toshiba Adds Prepaid Access

MyConnect Enterprise delivers high-quality access to the Internet via Wi-Fi, dial-up or Ethernet access points. It installs and works on any laptop PC, said Raja Narayanan, vice president of mobility solutions for the Digital Products Division of Toshiba America Information Systems, based in Irvine, Calif.

Like a prepaid phone card service, MyConnect can be sold in monthly blocks ranging from three months to 24 months, said Narayanan.

The service is ideal for mobile workers who travel into areas where serendipitous Internet access can be unreliable, Narayanan said.

Toshiba has arranged an access network for MyConnect users consisting of more than 350 ISPs and more than 50 wireless providers, enabling users to access a total of nearly 50,000 access points located in more than 150 countries, he said. Around-the-clock toll-free telephone support is included with the service.

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Resellers of the service see their margins increase according to the length of the service contracts sold, Narayanan said. For example, three-month prepaid contracts offer margins of about 8 percent, while 24-month contracts can garner about 15 percent margins for resellers, he said. Pricing for MyConnect plans starts at about $20 per month, according to Toshiba.

While not a huge upsell, MyConnect does add a nice garnish to laptop sales, said Brian Russell, sales manager at CTI Solutions, a large Toshiba reseller in Kansas City, Mo. "We see interest in [MyConnect] from a lot of smaller companies, those with smaller budgets," Russell said.

A version of MyConnect for SMB customers is also available, said Narayanan.