Prepaid Netbooks - Do They Exist?
Netbooks - Why sign a contract?!
For the same
reasons I discuss in the Prepaid
Wireless Internet and Why
sections, I don't like the idea of signing a contract to get a prepaid
netbook and mobile broadband bundle. Those offerings may meet
your needs, and if they do, that's great. But for those who
the flexibility to pay only for the service you use, to
your spending, as well as for those who enjoy the freedom of changing
carriers to get the best service, the thought of signing a contract
will probably make you somewhat sick to your stomach.
Unfortunately, I'm sorry to say, that there
isn't good news
related to integrated prepaid netbooks.
fact is that
prepaid netbooks don't currently exist! Ouch! The
is that prepaid wireless carriers are still getting their feet (and
business models working) around offering Prepaid
Wireless Broadband Plans
. There's still a challenge
with how much they should
charge for prepaid mobile broadband access, and how much people are
willing to pay to buy the initial broadband card, USB modem, or WiFi
Because they don't have you sign a contract and can't know
long you'll stick around with their service, they can only subsidize
the equipment so much (if at all). You'll find that the
industry is still experimenting with prepaid mobile broadband, and some
players have already gone under.
offering really isn't a far stretch from offering prepaid broadband via
broadband modems. The price of the hardware
be somewhat higher for prepaid netbooks than for broadband cards and
but the plans would likely look similar. I really do believe
it's only a matter of time before we see this type of offering from
prepaid carriers, however, don't expect it to come anytime soon!
Carriers will also have to invest in more complex operations
customer support that really would be incremental costs to their
current business operations. Consider that netbooks are far
complex than phones or broadband cards, because now they have to worry
about troubleshooting operating systems like Windows, software that
people install that can cause problems with broadband modem drivers or
Internet connectivity, etc. That's not to say that it can't
done, but I don't expect that it will be on the top of any prepaid
wireless company's priority list.
But there's still hope!
definitely not time to give up though! Can you have a super
super small netbook AND prepaid broadband? Absolutely, yes!
How? Although it's not going to be as pretty as a
where the broadband card is integrated into the netbook, you can still
access prepaid broadband services using a netbook. Simply get
yourself a prepaid mobile broadband USB modem and plug it into your
netbook, or connect via WiFi using a mobile hotspot, and you're good to
go! I don't believe most netbooks
PC Card slots, so you'll want to make sure that you buy a USB
modem that you can plug into the side or back of the netbook.
may even see some netbooks surface with Express slots (smaller PC Card
slots) in the future. In my opinion, that would be great, as
personally not a fan of USB modems because of the risk of them snapping
off as you move around, which you'll definitely be doing with a
netbook! But it seems that most people around me are buying
modems, so please don't let my opinion turn you off. You can
look at a Mi-Fi option to connect
netbook via Wi-Fi
to a mobile broadband access point.
safe to make the conclusion that although truly integrated prepaid
netbooks aren't currently available, you can piece together your own
solution. Simply buy a prepaid broadband modem and
and connect it via USB or MiFi to your super small, inexpensive, and
netbook; done! And although you'll pay more for your netbook,
you'll have the freedom to move to any wireless carrier you want, and
you only have to pay for the data you use. Think about when
you're sitting next to your friend who got a netbook bundle from their
postpaid wireless provider and they're not getting reception.
can humbly smile at them and quietly laugh inside when you think about
the fact that they'll have to buy a completely new netbook if they
switch carriers; not to mention the early termination fees that they'll
have to pay. In other words, they'll be suffering
service until their contract is over while you enjoy your prepaid
netbook. All that said, will you go the netbook route, or the