Lenovo has become a mobile broadband operator with the introduction of Mobile Access, a global cellular data service for 3G-enabled ThinkPads.
Unveiled on Monday, Lenovo Mobile Access allows both pay-as-you-go and monthly usage, and is immediately available in the UK, eight other European countries and the US.
"We live in a world where it's not only undesirable to be without online access, it's often disruptive to businesses," ThinkPad chief Dilip Bhatia said in a statement. "For that reason we wanted to create a flexible mobile broadband solution that would be unparalleled in its ability to help business users stay connected and working."
Mobile Access is based on a white-label mobile broadband platform from a company called Macheen, which allows IT administrators to implement policies regarding specific applications, sites and services. Corporate customers can also take advantage of centralised, unified billing for multiple deployments.
The service is available for selected ThinkPad Classic and ThinkPad Edge models that have 3G modules.
By offering cellular services without owning its own network, Lenovo has effectively become what is known as a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO.
In Europe, Lenovo's mobile broadband pricing starts at €3.99 (£3.22) for 30 minutes' use, with a data cap of 100MB. €4.99 gets a day's use up to 250MB, while monthly packages cost €14.99 for up to 500MB or €39.99 for up to 3GB.
Those in the US get a much cheaper deal for 30 minutes' access — $1.95, or £1.26 — but they pay more for a day's access, at $8.95 or £5.77.
Lenovo's UK representatives were not available to give pricing information for this country at the time of writing.
UPDATE: We have the UK pricing, which compares favourably with that in both the US and mainland Europe, depending on your usage levels:
30 minutes - £0.69 / 40MB 1 day - £1.99 / 250MB 1 month moderate use - £13.99 / 2GB 1 month heavy use - £24.99 / 7GB