Toshiba's million-dollar Aussie wireless “jump-start”

Toshiba is prepared to give away almost AU$1 million (US$0.51 million) worth of inventory in Australia in order to promote the company's mobile and wireless networking products.

SYDNEY (ZDNet Australia)--Toshiba is prepared to give away almost AU$1 million (US$0.51 million) worth of inventory in order to promote the company's mobile and wireless networking products.

"There are countless benefits and advantages in going wireless, and we want to jump-start the market" said Mark Whittard, Toshiba's national marketing manager.

Customers who buy a Toshiba's Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) compliant Satellite Pro 4600 or Tecra 8200 notebook computer will receive a wireless PC card and four hours access to Skynet Global's wireless Internet access service, free of charge. The offer will continue till the end of July or until demand has exhausted the stockpile of 3000 PC cards that the company has set aside for the promotion.

Toshiba says that the offer supports its existing campaign to raise awareness of the benefits mobile computing. "We've been promoting our mobile products range throughout the past month," said Leslie MacLennan, Toshiba industry marketing manager. "This is in keeping with our efforts."

Toshiba's experience with overseas markets suggests that corporate customers don't see wireless capability as a compelling value-add yet. The PC cards offered in the promotion are bundled with, and included in the cost of, United Kingdom and North American equivalents of the Satellite Pro 4600 and Tecra 8200 notebooks. However the units received a lukewarm response from corporate clients. "They looked at it as something they're not quite ready for", said Maclennan.

Toshiba says the promotion is not a veiled strategy to test the local market. Maclennan says Toshiba's advisory council--a group comprised of the company's top 12 clients--encouraged the company to use a different strategy for marketing the wireless-ready notebooks in Australia.

"From our point of view it gives our customers the opportunity to add the component free of charge. If they decide they want it later, they'll have to pay for it," she said.

The offer will remain valid until July 31.

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