Mobile broadband has become an essential tool for business travelers. But what if you don't want to buy a $60-per-month subscription for each of your employees? Today, Virgin Mobile announced a new option: pay-as-you-go mobile broadband. Buy a $150 dongle, and then just pay for service when you need it.

Prices are a bit steep: $10 gets you 10 days of access, but only 100 megabytes of data, which is equivalent to about five hours of Web browsing. So if you want to get some work done in the airport, it might be worth the price. If you are planning on heavy usage over a week-long business trip, this plan probably won't cover it. Other pricing tiers include $20 (30 days, 250MB), $40 (30 days, 600 MB) or $60 (30 days, 1GB). Here's more detail from Virgin.

There's another great way to save money on mobile broadband subscriptions: buy Novatel's MiFi, which we wrote about in April. It's a device that has a mobile broadband connection embedded in it. It's like having a portable WiFi hotspot wherever you go. You have to pay for the subscription ($40 for 250MB, $60 for 5GB). But if you buy one MiFi for the office, then you can pass it around depending on who's traveling. Voila: there's no need to buy individual subscriptions for each of your employees.

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