Competition in Australia for mobile broadband is fierce and some providers are offering free laptops to entice new customers to sign up for a plan. Compare Broadband takes a look at the different options available on free laptop mobile broadband deals.
Optus offers two My Wireless Netbook Mobile Wireless Broadband plans: one with 5GB, and one with 2GB, both on a 24-month contract.
The 2GB plan costs $39.99 a month while the 5GB plan costs $59.99 a month. The smaller plan is perfect for general internet browsing, while on the larger plan you could also download a few TV shows or music albums every month.
Both plans include a free Samsung N220 Netbook, although there is a $9.95 delivery fee for the device. A netbook is smaller than a laptop – this one has a 10.1 inch screen – but is powerful enough to work or watch movies on. There is also an integrated webcam for video calling.
If you look at a few reviews of the Samsung N220, you will find overall this is a great gadget for surfing the net while out and about. It has built-in 3G wireless capabilities, so you won't need an external modem or have to worry about a complicated set up – it will be ready to go as soon as it arrives.
Important features on a netbook are battery life and weight. The N220 weighs just 1.32kg, and the battery will last for around six hours, making it an ideal travelling companion on long journeys.
As this model is sold exclusively through Optus, it is difficult to say how the cost compares to buying the netbook and a data plan separately. It's fair to say the laptop won't really be free - you will be paying for it in the plan - but looking at similar netbooks on the market, you would be getting a good deal on both the netbook and the data plan.
If you go over your data limit on an Optus plan, you will be offered more data for an additional fee, so you can stay in control of how much you spend.
Optus has great coverage across most of Australia, but blackspots exist, so it's best to check coverage in your area before signing up to a plan.
Dodo is offering 250MB a month on a 24-month contract for $19.90, 1GB for $29.90, 3GB for $39.90, or 5GB for $59.90, which includes an 8.9" Asus EeePC Notebook with a built-in 3G modem. There is also a $24.90 delivery fee, although Melbourne-based customers can pick it up from Dodo's St Kilda Road headquarters.
Asus specialises in netbooks and is regarded as one of the top brands. The computer is very light, weighing in at 0.99kg and includes a webcam. Like the Samsung, this is also a great device for surfing the internet, watching movies and making video calls while on the go.
Again, with a built-in modem, you won't have to worry about forgetting your USB stick or accidentally knocking it out.
Unlike Optus, Dodo charges for going over your monthly download limit. Excess data is charged at 10 cents per MB, capped at a maximum monthly cost of $99.
Which deal to go for?
Prices are similar between the two providers, and both netbooks are perfect for tucking into your bag before you head for the airport or just the local coffee shop. If you are choosing between the two providers, Dodo has more options for data, but bear in mind going over your download limit can be very expensive.
Both providers’ netbook plans are good deals, and this is a great way to enjoy the freedom of mobile broadband.
Call Dodo on 1300 136 793 for more details on this plan, or sign up online. Call Optus on 1300 768 194 for more details, and to check coverage for your area.