Updated: Holy price cuts, Ma Bell! AT&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 […]

Updated: Holy price cuts, Ma Bell! AT&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.

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  1. $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.

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

  3. I think I read somewhere yesterday this subsidized netbook model has been going on in Europe for awhile but what was most interesting was a wireless kill switch setup to disable the laptop in case the monthly bill stops being paid for on the subsidized laptops.


  4. Gadget Sleuth Wednesday, April 1, 2009

    Very awesome deal…but I think AT&T needs to up their default bandwidth. The packages sound attractive though.

  5. PC-Tech-Express.com Wednesday, April 1, 2009

    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.

  6. christina viering Wednesday, April 1, 2009

    For $50 I would sign up for it.

  7. 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).


    1. Stacey Higginbotham Alex Wednesday, April 1, 2009

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

  8. $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.

  9. DailyWireless » Blog Archive » Wednesday Links: Samsung Propel, Cheap Netbooks, Vodafone Wednesday, April 1, 2009

    [...] Times are a’changin’. AT&T has rolled out a subsidized netbook program in its Atlanta market. Prices for the netbook start at (are you sitting down for this one?) just $50. Read about it on Gigaom. [...]

  10. 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.

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