Just as how cellphone handsets are subsidized by mobile carriers with a contract, so too are netbooks.
AT&T today announced that it will offer the Acer Aspire One, Dell Inspiron Mini 10 and Lenovo S10 for $199.99 after mail-in rebate via AT&T Promotion Card with a two-year service contract.
"Lightweight and connected, netbooks continue to interest consumers and small business customers," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "We expect that, paired with AT&T home broadband, Wi-Fi, and the nation's fastest 3G mobile broadband network, they'll have great appeal to busy, on-the-go consumers and working professionals. We're offering the latest and greatest connected devices."
It's somewhat unfortunate that the subsidies for the netbooks aren't more significant given the rather modest data plan offered by AT&T: 200 MB plan for $40 per month or a 5 GB plan for $60 per month. The only saving grace is that the contracts come with unlimited use of AT&T Wi-Fi service, featuring more than 20,000 hot spots nationwide, but we'd like to see a more generous data cap – otherwise, why not just tether with your phone?