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AT&T unveils pay-as-you-go data, new 3G portables

updated 10:40 am EDT, Mon September 20, 2010

ATT offers PAYG data, new Acer and Dell 3G systems

AT&T's mobile data plans expanded today with its first options for prepaid data. The DataConnect Pass gives those with built-in 3G in a notebook the option of paying for just a short stint of data without having to commit to a contract. Its rates carry a premium for the freedom at $15 for 100MB of data over the course of a day, $30 for a week pass with 300MB of data and a full month with 1GB for $50.

It's unknown if or when prepaid data will be available for stand-alone modems; it already exists for the iPad.

Three portables are coming along with the new data options, all of which have existed before but normally without the added 3G. Acer leads the group with the launch of the TimelineX 1830; it uses just a 11.6-inch display but has an ultra-low voltage Core i3, 2GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive to give it better performance than most netbooks. It costs $240 when tied to a two-year contract.

Acer also accommodates the lower end with the Aspire One 532h. The model is a basic netbook with a 10-inch display, a 1.66GHz Atom N450 and four hours of battery life. In exchange, AT&T prices it at $40 on contract and $450 without.

At the same level is a version of the Inspiron Mini 10. It primarily ups the 10-inch display's resolution to 1280x720 while keeping specs very similar to that of the Acer netbook. Accordingly, it also costs $40 on a contract.

All of the plans and options should be available today.

TimelineX 1830



Aspire One 532h




By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. elevenspades

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010

    +3

    Not a "new" service

    I am a former employee of AT&T Mobility. You should run a correction, because AT&T has actually been offering DataConnect Pass since early this year, but of course, in favor of price gauging and fraud, they have been keeping it hidden and still signing people up for the 2-year contract, $60/mo plan.

  1. coffeetime

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Nov 2006

    +3

    competition.

    This is more like a direct competition response from AT&T to Novatel's MiFi devices and their identical plans.

  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Sep 2010

    -2

    comment title

    Yea ok, no one gives two craps about those s*** devices, tell me if these plans work on the iPhone.

  1. joelwnelson

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2005

    +1

    Not new...

    I used the pay-per-week DataConnect plan ($30) three times this past winter, and had 3G service all three times, so this has been around for a while.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +4

    @Justin

    No, it won't.

  1. lamewing

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2004

    0

    Why not?

    Why not provided the same data plan as available for the iPad?

  1. arden

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010

    0

    How is this better than existing competing plans?

    So, let me get this straight. In order to take advantage of at&t's "new" service, I have to buy one of these new devices that has their pay-as-you-go capability built in. I cannot simply buy an external modem or USB stick that will work with my existing equipment, such as the Virgin Broadband2Go, which I've had for several months now and works great on my $300 notebook. And, even if I did go the at&t route, the most extensive pay-as-you-go plan that they are offering (1 month/1GB data for $50) is not as good as the comparable Virgin plan (1 month/unlimited data for $40). Hmmm, let me think about this for a moment ... okay, I've thought about it. Nice try, at&t, but you are going to have to do better than this to compete with better pay-as-you-go setups that have already been around for much longer. (Not forcing people to buy new iPads or selected PCs just to use your new service would be a good place to start.)

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