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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

AT&T has been exploring the possibility of heavily subsidizing the cost of netbooks by bundling 3G data contracts. The sales model has been well established amongst mobile phones, including Apple's own iPhone 3G. Consumers who agree to the two-year 3G data contract could find their netbooks discounted to $99 or less. AT&T explored this model in a deal with Radio Shack who offered an Acer netbook for only $99 over the holidays:
As president of AT&T's new Emerging Devices division, [Glenn] Lurie hopes to do a lot more of those deals. His mission is to get just about everything except phones connected to AT&T's broadband network -- laptops, GPS devices, cars, games, medical equipment, "all the way to dog collars," he quips.
AT&T's Lurie reports that they are in talks with "lots of folks" and specifically says that he "would very much like to do more business with Apple."

While AT&T presently provides exclusive service to Apple's iPhone 3G, Apple has yet to support any built-in data services with their notebooks. If Apple were to introduce a netbook (a possibility they've downplayed) with built-in 3G networking, such subsidies could bring customers' up front costs down by several hundred dollars.

Article Link: AT&T Subsidizing Notebooks with 3G Service, In Talks with Apple?


macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2005
Interesting proposition but it would work against Apple's strategic positioning as a premium brand that demands premium pricing.


macrumors 6502
May 5, 2007
Again, I don't see it. It is like Rolex selling cheaper watches to sell more. Apple has a brand name, and if you lower yourself to this bargain basement brand then the brand itself becomes cheap.


macrumors 68020
Aug 30, 2007
Atlanta, Ga
LAWL. All I gotta say is 'careful what you wish for or you just might get it'

People been complaining about a netbook from Apple. Should Apple provide one this just might be the way to do it, heck it's just an iPhone with some extra hardware and a bigger screen.

And you KNOW there will be tone of complaints if it does happen. Well, you asked for a netbook, you just might get it, and probably not the way you wanted it.

Personally I don't like netbooks, I think they're a waste of cash.


macrumors member
Apr 24, 2008
Not going to happen. No way.
The subsidized iPhone was out of necessity, they couldn't retail it for as high as they needed to and expect to sell many.

Theres no need for them to subsidize notebooks, or future netbooks, until the market refuses to pay the premium prices on those products.


macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2005
Not going to happen. No way.
The subsidized iPhone was out of necessity, they couldn't retail it for as high as they needed to and expect to sell many.

Theres no need for them to subsidize notebooks, or future netbooks, until the market refuses to pay the premium prices on those products.

You're spot on. Apple is growing portable sales at a time when its competitors are experiencing a contraction.


macrumors 68040
Oct 11, 2006
Minneapolis, MN
I really think this is the logical next step. We have subsidized phones, and subsidized wireless cards. With more and more netbooks coming out without the PCM slot and 3G capabilities build it it just makes sense that the next logical step would be to offer netbooks directly.

Seriously I would get an Acer if it only cost me $99 or less. (plus service:) )


macrumors 68000
May 27, 2008
Sioux City, IA
No. No. No. Say it with me. NO.

ATT sucks. Period. Do not tie Mac users to such a horrible company.

What I fear is this: the inability to get an Apple Laptop w/o a contract w/ ATT. At least one that doesn't cost $3K


macrumors 6502a
Sep 30, 2007
3G tethering

Instead of some eloborate scheme to get ppl to buy netbooks why won't AT&T just allow tethering for those who are already paying for 3g through the iPhone. I could really use it right now actually...I'm at a hotel with my iPhone and MacBook but the hotels wifi is so unreliable that I'm using my iPhone to write this message. :(

Mr Fusion

macrumors 6502a
May 7, 2007
I've been less than impressed with the 3G network speeds I get with my iPhone, and until they improve I see no reason to shell out high-speed connection fees to Ma Bell for the cellular equivalent of NetZero. :rolleyes:

Bad idea. :apple:


macrumors newbie
Sep 16, 2008
Please No

As much as I would LOVE a 10-12" Sub $600 netbook from Apple, I will not lower myself to another product tied to ATT. The Day that Apple offers an unlock-Sim I am heading straight back to T-Mobile, where the service is about the same, but costs 30% less!

In the meantime. My Wind U100 runs OSX 10.5.6 perfect!


macrumors G3
Dec 31, 2004
"No escape from Reality...”
Not going to happen. Plus, there's no reason to build cellular data into the Apple Notebooks.

Just get a subsidized USB cellular data modem for free and you're done with it...

We use the Sprint ones for work and they work on Macs and PC's - free with a 2 year data contract.


Apr 1, 2005
Space The Only Frontier
There's a lot of fresh new bandwidth showing up on the horizon after Feb. 17th and AT&T was a big winner in that auction..Think outside the 3G box.

AT&T is going to have a very large and fast wireless network by 2010.


Sep 19, 2008
I pay for At&T 3G Data service for my Mac. It's actually pretty good.

The only thing is, I wonder if this is somehow going to be a part of the MBA or the new bigger iPhone type OS handheld touch screen 8" thing. Like an iPhone but bigger. I would like one, but I wouldn't want to pay AT&T for both my Mac and my iHandMac.

Jobs recently said Apple doesn't know how to make an inferior notebook, and that the netbook market is nascent and Apple wants to see how it develops.

I really don't think this is going to be a netbook...

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
It's difficult to get too excited by a subsidized notebook of any kind, even from Apple, without knowing the total cost. We can guess it would be plenty.


macrumors newbie
Jan 28, 2009
A subsidized notebook is a terrible idea, but it would work in the US because we are all stupid (as a whole). If you price it out, you would be paying double, if not more, for the computer with said contract. Considering most people would probably be paying this with a credit card, this just gets that much worse!

As far as Apple being involved in this--I doubt it. The article is one sided. Of course AT&T wants to work with Apple. Their hardware is expensive, and it sells! People line up for days on end to buy it! What other phone/device causes this? It also has a low churn rate, loyal user base, and is only getting bigger. I can't forget to mention, that the Apple people probably have deeper products than the average joe wanting a Motorola RAZR. AT&T needs Apple to survive, but Apple doesn't need them necessarily.


macrumors newbie
Dec 12, 2008
I live in South Africa

Our Networks have been subsidizing Notebooks for years (3 year contracts)
You get a 3G data plan with modem and macbooks/airs/pro,s are a option from selected partners.

I did a quick price point over the full term and converted to dollars i pay about 300 dollars more for the notebook since im taking it on "terms" and im talking about the Macbook Pro that i received in December from them

To me the total cost works in my favour, every 3 years i get a new macbook pro, and of course i have 3G connectivity.


macrumors newbie
Jan 29, 2009
CPW & BBY Mobile

In the UK, Carphone Warehouse (where I work) has done this for a couple of years. We're Europe's largest independent retailer of cell phones, and on your side of the pond run the Best Buy Mobile shops.

We started with bundling handsets 20 years ago, moved on to laptops bundled with broadband when we bought AOL (UK), and now also do laptops and netbooks bundled with 3G contracts. We captured over 10% of the UK laptop market share with these bundles, so it's definitely a viable business model.


macrumors newbie
May 15, 2008
No surprise

I wouldn't be surprised as Orange here in Slovakia already offers MacBooks with their 3G internet plans.
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