Contrary to conventional wisdom, netbooks aren't just for consumers. AT&T* today announced another way for small businesses to enjoy access to the nation's fastest 3G network in 350 major U.S. metropolitan areas.
Small business customers nationwide can now purchase Acer, HP and Panasonic netbooks and laptops, featuring AT&T's embedded wireless technology, through the company's relationship with CDW, a provider of technology solutions. The effort is part of AT&T's initiative to introduce wireless capabilities into a wide variety of emerging devices beyond traditional handsets or smartphones and to enhance productivity for small businesses virtually wherever their business takes them.
These integrated devices come with AT&T 3G wireless connectivity built-in, offering a convenient option in lieu of external cards or antennas. Based on the global GSM standard, the devices enable small businesses to not only connect from coast to coast in the United States, but in more than 170 countries around the world, including more than 80 countries with 3G networks. With AT&T Communication Manager, small businesses purchasing embedded netbooks and laptops also have access to AT&T Wi-Fi hot spots, totaling some 20,000 domestically and more than 90,000 worldwide.
Purchasing AT&T embedded devices through CDW offers small businesses additional benefits, including:
* Customization and configuration of devices to meet unique business needs
* Dedicated small business sales force to help determine which devices will best serve a particular business
* Ability to purchase as many units as needed
* Convenient access via one source to a number of AT&T embedded devices from leading manufacturers
* 24/7 hardware tech support
"Today's small businesses want the best of both worlds - mobility and access speed - so they can keep connected virtually wherever they live and work," said Dan Walsh, senior vice president of Business Segment Marketing for AT&T. "Our mobile broadband offerings enable small business customers - whether they're at home, in the office or in the field - to get the most out of quality devices from leading netbook and laptop manufacturers. And with convenience of being able to purchase online or via a toll-free number, they're able to devote more time to taking care of their businesses."
With a two-year AT&T LaptopConnect 5GB monthly service plan, small business customers can purchase netbooks from CDW, starting as low as $199. In addition, laptops and, for customers that require more durable equipment, rugged Panasonic Toughbook® computers also are available, with up to $150 off of select models.
AT&T's 3G service allows small business customers to send and receive e-mail, including large attachments, while on the go; access the Internet, including corporate intranets or VPN's; and perform business applications, almost anywhere they can make a wireless phone call. Small businesses with existing netbooks or laptops can enjoy the same seamless access to the AT&T wireless network with the purchase of an AT&T LaptopConnect card and data plan.
Industry research firm IDC recently reported that worldwide shipments of mininotebooks (netbooks) in 2008 were 11.6 million units and projected that it would grow at a double-digit rate in the coming years.**
"With small businesses increasingly using technology to keep costs down and improve productivity, these devices are becoming more popular all the time," Walsh said. "Our goal is to offer a lineup of devices with superior connectivity that enable small businesses to fully access the Internet and company information 24/7, providing the best possible 'virtual office' experience."
Today's news reinforces AT&T's commitment to small business customers, coming on the heels of the company's June 3 "All for Less" announcement, highlighting the industry's first bundled offer targeted at small businesses that includes wireless, wired and high speed Internet services, starting at less than $100 a month. The bundle is available to qualifying small business customers (one to four lines in a single location) across AT&T's 22-state footprint. To qualify, customers must already have wireless service or purchase new wireless service from AT&T in addition to new or existing local voice, long distance voice and broadband services.
"We're delighted to provide our small business customers with several new options for selecting certified AT&T embedded notebooks, netbooks and Toughbook computing devices," said Kathleen Else, Mobility Practice manager for CDW. "Additionally, we can assist with any configuration needs to help customers save time and ensure that their units are ready to go, right out of the box."