O2 arrives at the laptop party - at last

Operator takes its time

Operator takes its time

O2 has announced a range of connected laptop tariffs - the last of the UK mobile operators to join the big screen party.

O2 will launch the laptop packages on 27 February - offering users a choice of a 'free' Samsung NC10 mini-laptop or a Samsung R510 laptop. A souped-up 'multimedia' R510 is also available for a one-off fee of almost £80.

The cheapest monthly laptop tariff is just shy of £30 - and comes with a 3GB data allowance, plus unlimited wi-fi and 300 O2-to-O2 texts. For just under £40 per month users get a bigger allowance of 10GB allowance, plus the same number of texts and unlimited wi-fi. O2's excessive usage policy and terms apply to all packages and the minimum contract length is two years.

O2 CEO, Ronan Dunne, said in a statement: "Laptops are rapidly eroding the desktop PC market and at the same time, the emergence of the mini-laptop has opened up a whole new market for ultra-portable devices - one that is expected to more than double in size in 2009 alone."

A recent report by analyst house ABI Research predicts worldwide netbook shipments will rise to 139 million in 2013, up from almost 35 million in 2009 - an increase of nearly 400 per cent.

UK operators 3, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone all already offer laptop bundles, along with mobile retailers Carphone Warehouse and Phones4u. O2 was also later to market with its mobile broadband and home broadband offerings.