Panasonic offers wireless broadband service to connect its products

Panasonic will offer wireless service to its Japanese customers, a novel approach for a consumer electronics vendor

Panasonic launched a wireless broadband service in Japan this week that is intended to encourage customers to use its coming wave of Internet-ready appliances and services.

Panasonic said its aptly named "WiMAX Service" will work with its wired TVs, audio equipment, refrigerators and washing machines, as well as future offerings in home energy management, health care and security.

While electronics makers are pumping out more "smart" devices that connect to home networks and the Internet, it is still rare for them to assume the role of network provider. One example is Amazon, whose successful Kindle e-reader can download books over 3G networks with no cellular contract or monthly fees.

Like many of its rivals, Panasonic offers laptops and other devices with built-in wireless Internet, but these require a separate contract with a service provider.

Panasonic will now serve as an MVNO, or mobile virtual network operator, meaning it will interact directly with customers but will lease its network services. The company will work with UQ Communications, which operates a large WiMAX network across Japan.

Panasonic said its goal is to provide a complete solution including products, network services, customer support and the network connection itself.

"Currently it is typical for customers to sign contracts directly with service providers, which puts a large burden on them when configuring or trouble-shooting, because contracts differ for each device and provider," the company said in a statement.

Panasonic said its service will offer 40M bps (bits-per-second) download speeds with 15.4M bps upstream. It will cost ¥3,880 (US$50) per month on a one-year contract, the same price offered by UQ. There was no word about any plans to offer such a service internationally.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?