Mobile productivity

Smart unveils USB modem for mobile Internet access anywhere

SMART Broadband, Inc. (SBI) has unveiled a USB modem that will allow users to access the Internet with speeds ranging from 384 kbps to 768 kbps anywhere where there is a Smart signal.

The device will be offered under SBI’s “Smart BRO Plan 799.? Under the plan, which costs P799 a month, subscribers have 60 hours of Internet usage per month and will be charged P10 for every 30-minute block in excess.

Smart BRO USB modem MOBILE INTERNET. The Smart BRO USB modem allows you to connect to the Internet anywhere where there is a Smart network coverage. The device is offered under a P799 monthly plan. Click on photo to enlarge.

When I first read the press release, I was immediately tempted to get one. But it’s not something I need just yet. I rarely go out right now and at any given hour I’m either at home or at the office or on my way to either place. Still, it’s certainly something I want.

People who are always on the go, however, will find the device useful, especially in areas with sparse Wi-Fi coverage.

The device is certainly a cheaper alternative to PLDT WeRoam and one that you can also use in a desktop PC. The device, according to a company press statement, is part of Smart’s “thrust of broadbanding the country, of making wireless broadband Internet services more accessible and more affordable.”

“This takes Internet access to the next level. With the portable USB modem, areas that previously could not avail (itself) of broadband services will have instant Internet access, as long as there is Smart network coverage,” SBI president Rolando G. Peña said in a press statement.

To avail yourself of the plan, you need to have a monthly salary of P12,000 and present financial documents such as the latest income tax return, current bank statement, or bank certification letter. Subscribers will be charged a one-time fee of P1,999 for the modem.

The Smart BRO Plan 799 kit comes with a data modem, PC software and “a cool denim sock for storing the modem.? The USB modem currently works only in Windows 2000 and XP. But Smart said that before the year ends, the modem will be compatible with other operating systems.

I just checked with the Smart Bro website and found that a higher plan, at P999 a month, gives you a LAN modem that’s compatible with other operating systems. I don’t know how small or large the device is but the USB modem seems small enough to be convenient to carry around.

If the USB modem does get to support more operating systems, including Linux, I just might get one. Next year, I’d be working on projects that would need me to be on the field more often. The Smart BRO USB modem will certainly be useful.

By Max Limpag

Max is a journalist and blogger based in Cebu City, Philippines. He is co-founder of the journalism start-up InnoPub Media.