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O2 is launching a mobile-broadband bundle that includes a 'free' netbook — making it the last UK mobile operator to start doing so.
The Spanish-owned operator announced on Wednesday that it will start selling Samsung's NC10 netbook (pictured) to British buyers on 27 February. It will also provide Samsung's R510 full-sized laptop on the same terms.
Those terms include a 24-month contract, in which a 3GB monthly data allowance will cost £29.38 per month, and a 10GB allowance will cost £39.15 per month. Going over the allowance will incur a charge of 19.6p per megabyte.
The 1.3kg NC10 has a 10.2-inch screen and uses Intel's 1.6GHz N270 Atom chipset. It runs Windows XP and includes a gigabyte of RAM and a 160GB hard drive.
All the other major UK operators already offer netbooks as part of mobile-broadband bundles. Larger laptops are available from most providers in similar deals; however, netbooks have always been pitched as ideal for mobile broadband, due to their light weight and small size.
The following pages show which netbooks are being offered by which operators, and on which terms. The common thread is that every deal is based on a 24-month contract.
T-Mobile is currently offering the Asus Eee 904HD, with a monthly data allowance of 3GB at £25 per month. The operator is the only one that promises not to charge its customers when they go over their allowance. Instead, it has a 'fair use' policy, and those customers who go significantly over their limit are offered a higher-priced package.
The 1.36kg 904HD is an unusual netbook in that it has an 8.9-inch screen housed in the body of a 10-inch machine. This means the bezel around the screen is wider than usual.
The device also uses a Celeron M processor, which is older and more power-hungry than the Intel N270 Atom chipsets used in all the other netbooks currently offered by UK operators. The computer uses a gigabyte of RAM, runs Windows XP and includes an 80GB hard drive.