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AT&T To Expand Netbook Sales

May 20, 2009

According to AT&T’s head of consumer business, the company will expand its sales of netbook computers in an effort to develop its wireless service beyond cell phones.

On Tuesday, AT&T’s Ralph de la Vega announced that the U.S. phone company would directly sell netbooks from Lenovo Group, Acer Inc, and Dell beginning this summer.

Currently, only AT&T stores in Atlanta and Philadelphia have been selling the netbooks, which come equipped with AT&T mobile data connections.

“We’re taking broadband and really making it mobile,” said de la Vega at the Reuters Global Technology Summit in New York.

Netbook sales are expected to be boosted by promotions from carriers, but some analysts believe the requirement to sign up for a two-year wireless plan could squelch consumer enthusiasm.

In April, AT&T said it was testing a $40-per-month fee for 200 megabytes of netbook data downloads, which is about 1/25th of the downloads allowed under the current $60 service plan.

Verizon Wireless, AT&T’s largest mobile rival, started selling Hewlett-Packard Co netbooks earlier this week.

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