Mobile operator Orange UK is taking on iPhone-wielding rival O2 — Apple's partner for the iPhone in the UK — launching a range of mobile-broadband packages that bundle laptops rather than mobiles.
The 'Connected Laptop' packages include a cheaper-than-an-iPhone £25-per-month consumer tariff offering the popular Asus Eee PC 900 mini laptop. Users get a dongle with their Eee and Orange's 'Internet Everywhere' package, with a data allowance of 3GB, and 100 texts from the laptop.
Small-business users have not been forgotten, but Orange seems to believe they have more demanding hardware needs, as it is offering three HP laptops, complete with Windows Vista: the HP 6730s (Intel Celeron), HP 6730s (Intel Core 2 Duo) and HP 6730b (Intel Core 2 Duo).
The three small-business packages — all on Orange's unlimited data 'Business Everywhere' tariffs — cost £35, £40 and £45 per month respectively, with the cheaper two using dongles and the most expensive using an embedded Orange SIM.
A monthly Wi-Fi allowance of 500 minutes and a 5GB fair-use data policy applies to the business packages.
Both types of package — business and consumer — require users to sign up for 24 months of service. The Connected Laptop offerings will go on sale next month.
Francois Mahieu, devices director of Orange UK, said the company plans to expand the range of laptops offered in the future. The operator also plans to include fixed-line broadband.
He said in a statement: "Over time, we will be looking to expand our offering even further, with more suppliers who are at the forefront of laptop technology, making it even easier for our customers to connect to the internet seamlessly, whether it is for work or play."