AT&T Offers a $50 Netbook and Bundled Broadband Package

61 Comments

Updated: Holy price cuts, Ma Bell! AT&T (s T) is rolling out a trial of subsidized netbooks in its Atlanta retail stores, where it will have some netbooks (or “mini laptops,” in AT&T speak) for $49.95 (on the high end you’re gonna pay $250). Buyers will need to shell out for a monthly mobile data subscription, but AT&T has created an “Internet at Home and On the Go” plan that gives subscribers service both in their homes and while mobile. It also provides access to AT&T’s pervasive Wi-Fi hotspots.

Update: If you want the $50 netbook, that’s the minimum offer you have to sign up for; it includes a new, 200 MB-per-month mobile data plan (for $40) combined with basic DSL (for $19.95). $60 a month is decent for a full broadband package, although I think $40 for 200 MB of mobile data is pricey. Customers can package U-verse with the smaller mobile data subscription as an upgrade, too. AT&T also has its standard 5GB plan for $60 per month for those who aren’t interested in DSL, but I imagine it’s hoping the lure of a mobile broadband bundle keeps some of its DSL customers from migrating to cable.

By coming up with a decent integrated service offering, AT&T has listened to my pleas for combined pricing to truly drive mobile broadband adoption. Now it needs to boost capacity and speeds on its network through HSPA upgrades, so the surfing experience is more akin to what people are used to on their computers. Available netbooks in AT&T’s retail stores include the Acer Aspire One, Dell Inspiron Mini 9 and Mini 12, and LG Xenia. AT&T will also offer the Lenovo X200 ultraportable laptop for $750 or $850, depending on the broadband subscription a user chooses.

61 Comments

kegill

AT&T 3G service (Seattle metro) is painful on my Blackjack. No idea if it’s the network or the phone, but I wouldn’t want to be connected at these speeds with any notebook, even a netbook.

I join the chorus for investments in bandwidth, capacity. And yes, I know that AT&T has a lot of hotspots for wiFi but the US has two issues: ubiquity (the AT&T hotspots are a step) and bandwidth (which is pitiful here).

The fastest “at home” service AT&T offers in Atlanta is 6 Mbps/512 Kbps, which is pitiful. Speakeasy.net (Seattle-based) maxes out at 15.0 Mbps, which makes it (somewhat) competitive with Verizon FiOS.

I checked one French provider: 20Mbps. An exceptionally remote (aka “rural”) town in England is about to get 12 Mbps. *In 2007*, published reports pegged Japan’s average at 61 Mbps and Sweden’s at 18 Mbps.

This is *infrastructure* folks — like roads and interstates and airports. It is the underpinning of the new economy, and we are falling further behind. Efforts like this one are misplaced, IMO.

Subsidized Netbooks Arrive in Limited AT&T Markets

[…] Stacey likes the bundle choices, but I’m not sold on them. The home and mobile package offers DSL and 3G at $60 a month, but the 3G is capped at 200MB per month. That’s far too little for a device that will likely be used outside of the home more than inside it. If a netbook is designed for portable usage on the go, why not cater plans to that use case? In fairness, AT&T includes free WiFi access at any of their over 20,000 hotspots, but mobile broadband works best when you don’t have to worry as much about your location. gigaom:http://jkontherun.com/2009/04/01/subsidized-netbooks-arrive-in-limited-att-markets/ […]

Lava

I don’t know why people think having a subsidized notebooks is such a good deal. Are people really going to want to use a low-powered netbook for two years? Once you buy one of these subsidized beasts, you’ll be forced to pay for it for the length of the contract even if it becomes completely obsolete for what you want to do with a notebook in a year’s time. And what happens if you want to discontinue the wireless service?

Contracts make sense for phones, but really, what we’re talking about is asking people to rent a notebook for a fixed length of time, with no option to upgrade to a new model until the contract expires.

Marin

$50 is super tempting, but I’m still not seeing the real market for this. Most netbook users who want the subsidy would still be doing the majority of their computing from home – I guess it makes sense if you just want the 3G service, but going over the limit can be very costly. Still, we’re seeing some interesting things and things seem to be moving in the right direction.

Alex

Interesting and moving in the right direction.

Stacey, I believe you have previously done stories on Uverse. Can you do a follow up on this service.

Also, if there are any Uverse subscribers reading this please give me your skinny good and bad for the service (including costs).

Cheers!

Stacey Higginbotham

Alex are you looking for a review? Although, for now this is only in Atlanta.

PC-Tech-Express.com

Certainly not enough bandwidth, but still a good idea. Not likely to catch on with hardcore internet users, but people who barely use the internet and just need a basic system for browsing and email should take a look at this. Overall though, it should get bring in some business which at this point is good for any company.

tom

i think most buyers will want to ditch their wired broadband. that means at least 5GB needs to be the base offering.

Ricky Cadden

$40 for 200MB on a netbook is ridiculous! I blow through 500-600MB/month on my smartphone without tethering or anything. I would imagine that 200MB on a netbook would go within minutes.

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