Qwest Joins ATandT, Verizon, with Dell Netbook Offer

High-speed Internet provider Qwest Communications is pairing a two-year service contract with the offer of a Dell Inspiron Mini notebook for $199. Verizon, AT&T and numerous carriers abroad have been offering discounted netbooks along with service contracts.

Netbooks have been a bright spot in the fading PC market, which analysts have attributed, in part, to carriers offering netbooks at subsidized prices in combination with service contracts.
High-speed Internet provider Qwest Communications has joined these ranks, with the offer of a 10-inch Dell Inspiron Mini Netbook for $199-essentially, a $100 rebate-in combination with a two-year contract for its 7M-bps, 12M-bps or 20M-bps packages.
Qwest-which you may remember as the telecommunications company that didn't go along with the phone spying that came to light in November 2008-is a "Baby Bell," like Verizon and AT&T, and it launched the offer Aug. 1 with the intent of running it through Sept. 30.
Along with a May offer that extends free AT&T Wi-Fi coverage to Qwest High-Speed Internet customers, the Dell netbook offer is a way to gain competitive advantage, particularly against cable companies. "Competition is heating up between those types of companies," a Qwest representative told eWEEK.
AT&T's trial netbook offer, which includes models from Dell, Acer and LG Electronics and device prices as low as $50, was so successful that AT&T will soon be extending the program nationally.
Quickly following AT&T, on May 17 Verizon began offering a Hewlett-Packard Mini 1151NR for $199.
Researcher DisplaySearch estimates that 33 million netbooks will ship globally in 2009, with the strongest year-to-year growth rates expected in Latin America, North America and Greater China.
By 2012, iSuppli expects global netbook shipments to rise to 36 million units.
The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 features a keyboard that's 92 percent of full size, a 160GB hard drive and 1GB of RAM. Qwest's newest ad campaign includes details on the Dell Mini offer, and is also good for a laugh.