AT&T Expands 3G Netbook Program Nationwide

cing_logoAT&T’s announced that it will beging selling Acer, Dell and Lenovo netbooks at its 2,200 retail locations and online statring this summer. The netbooks are are heavily subsidized by AT&T, but you do need to sign a two-year contract to get the discount.

AT&T test marketed subsidized netbooks and the Lenovo X200 in Philadelphia and Atlanta last month.

It’s clear there’s a demand for mini laptops,” de la Vega said. Our customers in the Atlanta and Philadelphia markets have responded well and the response isn’t limited to a specific demographic. We’re getting interest from tweens, teens, young adults, moms on the go and small business owners. Consumers and small business customers really seem to be attracted to the convenience and portability of this connected device.”

While I agree that a 3G connection is a great tool for any notebook or netbook, I don’t recommend basing your netbook buying decision on any carrier’s subsidy.

To get the most out of a 3G connection, I recommend a solution that can be shared with multiple users. A USB 3G modem and Cradlepoint router are my tools of choice. A lot of geeks, including Kevin Tofel and Rob Bushway are thourougly enjoying their MiFi 3G data cards, which double as WiFi routers so a families and workgroups can share one subscription.

Apparently, the ThinkPad X200 didn’t make the cut for nationwide rollout. This is a real shame because it was the most robust computer AT&T offered in the Philadelphia and Atlanta tests. I’m pretty sure anyone who buys an X200 would be happy using it for at least two years. Netbooks are quickly evolving and may not fit your needs in two years, which is how long you’ll be locked into the AT&T contract.