A netbook-cellphone deal up north

Four weeks ago I wondered how fast Canadian carriers would followAT&T in the U.S. and bundle a cellphone with anetbook. It didn't take too long: Over the weekend Telus and BestBuyteamed up for an exclusive three day special that tossed in an AcerAspire One netbook if you bought two LG9700 Dare handsets.

There was a good price on the handsets – $49for the pair on a 36-month plan, although the LG9700 uses a proprietaryoperating system rather than the more flexible Windows Mobile. On theother hand the netbook had a 10.1-inch screen, not one of those tiny8-inchers some come with. Powered by a 1.6Ghz Intel Atom N270 CPU with1 MB of memory, it included Windows XP Home on a 160GB hard drive. Itonly came with 802.11b/g for wireless, rather than the faster 'n'capability, which for some buyers might have been a deal breaker.

Unfortunately,Telus didn't follow AT&T's lead of creating a voice-databundle, which is what caught my eye. The data side is what makes anetbook practical for mobile users (unless you can find a freehotspot), and a handset-netbook combo is particularly appealing. Ofcourse, AT&T is heavily into the hotspot provision andpromotion business, which is why it created that bundle.

“Netbooksare extremely popular with our customer base,” Best Buy Canadaspokesperson Heather Seabrook said in explaining how the Telus deal wascreated, “so we wanted to make something that was really appealing tothat target.” She couldn't say if the company had spotted theAT&T promo, but noted that typically it takes some time forBest Buy to put together offers so they can be included in flyers. TheAcer-LG7600 bundle was designed as a 'door-crasher' to push traffic. IfTelus had been braver in its voice-data plan, it might crashed a lot ofcash registers. Now there's a dare.

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