updated 11:25 pm EDT, Thu March 26, 2009
Verizon Wireless is ready to begin selling netbooks, possibly as soon as next quarter, an unnamed source told Bloomberg. The carrier is allegedly working with more than one PC maker, according to the person that is close to the project. If true, the company appears to be stepping up competition against other carriers that have seen an opportunity in low-priced computers paired with data contracts and subsidized for extra discounts.
"They certainly don't want to cede any ground to AT&T, and they'll do whatever they have to do, certainly within economic reason, to match AT&T's offerings," said Christopher King, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus.
AT&T last year took advantage of the exploding netbook segment, partnering with Radio Shack for a holiday promotion. The electronics outlet sold the Acer Aspire One for $100 when paired a two-year data plan. The netbook features an integrated 3G modem for Internet connectivity.
Verizon customers will likely see similar price points around $100 due to subsidies, although the source suggested pricing and plan details remain to be set by the company.
"We are talking with carriers all over the world," said Kevin Frost, a general manager at Hewlett-Packard. He declined to comment specifically on any Verizon plans, however.