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Best Buy Plans Private-Label Cellular Broadband For Laptops

Minneapolis – Best Buy
said it will offer mobile broadband service under its own name for select laptops
and netbooks that it sells in its U.S. stores.

As an MVNO,
Best Buy will resell airtime on Sprint’s 3G network beginning July 11 for
laptops and netbooks equipped with Qualcomm’s embedded Gobi cellular chip,
which enables activation on multiple wireless networks. Pricing for the Best
Buy Connect service wasn’t released.

The plan is
part of a strategy by Best Buy to expand into services for consumer electronics
products. The retailer, for example, owns the


streaming and download service.

Sprint aggressively
targets the MVNO market to sell service on a wholesale basis. The carrier also
partnered this year with Best Buy rival Walmart to offer the Walmart-exclusive
prepaid service

Cents Mobile

, which offers voice and
messaging service. Walmart also last fall began offering its exclusive Straight
Talk prepaid cellular brand through an arrangement with MVNO Tracfone Wireless.