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

Howard Ikles

What if I already have broadband at home like Qwest or Comcast? Can’t I hook up my PC to that wired or wireless and not get a data plan?

Rachel

I have an acer one ZG5 and it does NOT work at AT&T hotspots. The advertising makes it seem like it does but read the fine print. You must have AT&T connection manager. Acer’s come with ACER connection manager. You can not change the hardware. There is no fix. You can not log into an AT&T wifi hotspot….but you can use 3G. Just watch you don’t go over the 5 gig per month limit for $60. The $60 includes access to AT&T hotspots but Acers can’t log in so you pay for something you don’t get. When I complained they did not offer me a free dongle with some hours of hotspot access. They only offered me the option to return it since I was within the 30 days. I did not. I like having it for 3G and wireless at home. Just annoys me that part of that $60/month is for hotspot access and AT&T won’t discount it despite the fact that they advertise this netbook on the AT&T website and stores. Like I said: read the fine print. If you do not have AT&T connection manager you are not logging into their hotspots. Do not be confused. Everyone thinks they work at hotspots. They don’t. But who cares? You have 3G. Wait to watch youtube till you get home. I love my netbook.

Lorie

I was excited about the $50 netbook part at first glance. I have them avaliable through the agency I represent. We offer them online,not just Alanta. Personally I do have some concern over the monthly fee. As a part paying any contract for 2 years plus monthly living expenses,it’s something to think about!

Doc

Thanks. I’m in the process of “firing” my cable company and going to watching TV over the ‘net. I may want to investigate how these caps will affect the amount of viewing I will do. I live in a Coastal Northern California town that doesn’t yet offer the uVerse bundle or, believe me, I would already have it.

61MBps avg. in Japan? Now if they’d just make an apartment cheaper, I’m “there”.

Toni

This sounds like an interesting option. I would definitely be interested in it, but what states will it be offered in and when? Is there any information that you have seen on this?
Thanks for the information . I am always up for a new gadget and a great price.

Rohit Mishra

The pricing of AT&T is just too high. The way internet is shaping up, it needs us to move towards fast, unlimited mobile access. 200 MB for a mobile plan is dubious, unless you use it as an e-mail netbook, But with netbook features usually discussed and the insistence on performance, I seriously doubt any good reason that these people would have to move on to a limited plan.
Already suffering from a limited 5 GB per month connection!!

Allison Davis

Most things that look too good to be true usually are. I can’t imagine the first version of this being something people really get excited about. If we’ve learned anything from Apple and the iPhone success, it’s that if the product is legitimate, it stays full price.

Marc Rhodes

Why do they need to increase their mobile data speeds? Whatever they offer for mobile will be faster than the speed you get on their $19.95 DSL plan.

Eleventyurple

Ahh… reminds me of the old days of dial-up. Metered bandwidth. The bad old days.

Best we can hope for is that they all don’t agree to NOT compete, or we’ll be stuck with no TRUE un-metered,
unlimited mobile Internet.

But really? 5 GB for 60 a month? I see people concerned with the 200mb package, but does anyone realize
how fast we all go through 5 GB? And I mean ALL of us. Remember, these are the people who charge somewhere
along the lines of $1,310.00 per mb for txt msgs. (not making that number up.. look it up!!) It’s a scam.
It’s a scam a lot of people seem very comfortable with, but it doesn’t change the nature of the thing.

The netbook is enticing for some, I’m sure (I want one!), but you can count on them counting on
overages for HUGE profits. Sure, customer service cost will rise as people scramble to get their bills
under control after sticker shock (of sorts) kicks in. Then it’s time for self-metering while you’re on the
go, which is always SO much fun.

“Should I visit youtube?…. hmm.. maybe I should wait until the first of the month.”

It’s just not realistic. This will be a nightmare for anyone with net-savvy teens in the house or people
used to broadband. Why even bother?

The way it played out in the old days is all but a few went unlimited and the rest followed or failed.
Is enough competition in place now? Real competition to allow the same sort of thing to happen as
rapidly as it did back in the early 90s? Hard to say.

But I’m not impressed. (grumble grumble)

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.

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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