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Free laptops with broadband deals: a false economy?

by Tarinder Sandhu on 6 September 2008, 04:00

Tags: Acer (TPE:2353), ASUSTeK (TPE:2357), MSI

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What we think

 Our basic look into broadband bundling shows that there is no such thing as a free laptop: you pay for it in one way or another.

It literally pays to 'do the math' and calculate how much extra you'll be paying over a regular £15pm mobile and £10pm fixed-line connection. Also be wary of the contract length, as most operators will attempt to tie you in for 24 months.

Out of the laptops and tariffs listed, the ASUS Eee PC from Orange and the more-powerful HP 550 from 3 aren't bad if you starting a-fresh and want mobile broadband that's not tied to a home. For most others, negotiate a dongle-only 3G contract and opt for a shorter tie-in length as the market will undoubtedly change in the upcoming 18 months.

However, if you need a laptop and find it difficult to shoulder the initital outlay, there's intrinsic merit in some of the deals.

Let us know if you've come across any stonking 'laptop-included' deals, and what the service has been like if you've gone for a mobile package. As always, we'd be keen to hear your thoughts.

HEXUS Forums :: 14 Comments

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Theres one thing you missing - a lot of people want (and need) a laptop / computer at home but can't stump up the £300 - £500 all in one go. They will also need the internet anyway - as far as their concerned it's like a loan, but instead of paying interest on top, you are actually getting something extra.
I agree, to a point.

You can buy a perfectly acceptable netbook for under £200 and a reasonable mid-sized laptop for £275.

(R)etailers are falling over themselves to sell them to you, and most people can grab interest-free credit on something which is a little more expensive.
If you want the laptop that’s on offer this might make sense if you can exit the contract promptly.
Its really for the people who don't use computers much, a bit like the people who get broadband with low usage limits, its suitable for their needs.
I work at PC World (who do these offers) - a lot of people just want to use a laptop to go on the web, and that's it - they get something like an Advent K1501 (£330), and then they need an internet connection - they can pay BT £15.99 a month, or they can pay £20 for 18 months and get their laptop just about free which DOES work out cheaper…