Back in December, AT&T and Radio Shack ran a promotion, offering the Acer Aspire One for $99 with a 3G AT&T DataConnect plan. We’ve seen other netbooks being priced incredibly low (or free) with mobile broadband contracts – it was mentioned in a recent review of the LG X110 in the UK.
Fortune Magazine has an article out talking about AT&T’s efforts to push 3G and netbook combination plans in the U.S. AT&T is using the same person who worked out the AT&T/Apple iPhone agreement to spearhead this new move by AT&T to get customers in the U.S. to buy netbooks (or other small notebooks) with 3G mobile broadband plans:
Glenn Lurie knows Silicon Valley better than most telecom industry types. As AT&T’s point man on the iPhone, he was the guy who camped out in Cupertino and hashed out the blockbuster iPhone launch with Apple. The next big game in his sights? The netbook.
That’s right, the netbook, that shrunken, low-priced laptop that lately has been a rare bright spot in the moribund PC industry. To hear Lurie tell it, AT&T’s next hit phone might not be a phone at all, but a netbook with built-in Internet access that works anywhere you can get a cell signal.
Besides the Acer Aspire One, they’ve recently worked out a deal to have a 3G bundle with the 8.9″ Dell Inspiron Mini 9 (although you pay a higher price upfront, with a rebate to follow). From the article and the comments of Lurie, AT&T would probably like to see a 3G plan bundled with the 13.3″ Apple MacBook as well (or even better, an Apple netbook).
They mention it’s still a new market, and nobody is sure just how well it will ultimately be received in the US. Such bundles are popular in other parts of the world (notably Asia and Europe), but mobile/cell phone pricing in the US is quite a bit different.