While the media is paying close attention to netbooks discounted when customers sign up for two years of wireless broadband services, there are near equivalent deals with purchasing notebooks. What’s more, the broadband discounts apply to a wider variety of computer brands.
At Verizon, discounts depending on brand range from $100 to $200 if you buy a notebook with built 3G broadband wireless. The brands range are Dell, Sony, HP, Lenovo, OQO and Panasonic Toughbook. The deals are good through June 30.
Verizon Mobile Broadband is $39.99 a month for under 50 MB (hard to imagine this is very practical) and $59.99 a month for 5 gigabytes. Verizon charges 25 cents for every MB above the allowance. Verizon reportedly will unveil its netbook discount plans shortly.
Like Verizon, AT&T has cross-promotions for notebooks with built-in wireless broadband, but the discounts are less prominently displayed on its web site and don’t seem to apply to every notebook brand. For instance, I found a $120 discount for buying a Dell notebook with broadband, but none for HP. AT&T wireless broadband cross-promotes notebooks from Dell, HP, Lenovo, Panasonic Toughbook and Fujitsu. Knowing how closely they match up with each other on monthly charges, it’s hard to imagine AT&T won’t shortly be offering discounts that are identical to or which leapfrog Verizon’s.
AT&T’s biggest discount is $350 off a $479 Dell Mini 9 with built-in wireless broadband for a two year service commitment at $60 a month. Exactly what the Sprint Mobil Broadband Network’s plans are for notebooks and netbooks aren’t clear yet, but you can be sure they have them.