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Is the mobile broadband laptop deal bubble about to burst?

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In the latest user poll conducted by UK based broadband comparison website Broadband Genie, more than 60% of those taking part said they felt so called 'free' laptop deals don't offer enough value for money. Just 15% of those who answered the poll thought they were good value.

Commenting on the result, Broadband Genie editor Chris Marling said: "Mobile broadband has been getting a pretty rough ride in the press recently, and a lack of consumer confidence in the product could be a key contributor to this result. Mobile broadband has been around a while and customers are starting to getting savvy to it. As a result, people are starting to take a second look at laptop deals.

"Laptops and netbooks are hugely popular right now, and are very competitively priced. There are some great leading brand models on offer from the likes of O2, 3, Orange and Vodafone, so I'm not convinced the laptops themselves are the problem."

Mobile broadband ISPs are continuing to market their products with 'up to' speeds of anywhere from 3Mb to more than 7Mb, but the reality for most is speeds far below that. In addition, the term 'free laptop' itself could also be a key factor.

Marling continued: "Many people have worked out that 'free' laptop really means hire purchase scheme, while talk of mobile broadband being an adequate replacement for fixed-line is a story very much on the back burner. With sales of smartphones still on the rise, and the technology improving all the time, the mobile broadband ISPs are going to need to pull out all the stops to make laptop deals more desirable."

"At the same time, people who don't realise they're not actually getting a laptop for free are looking at the bundles and thinking, 'why would I pay £25 or more per month for mobile broadband'?

"Providers need to stop giving mixed messages, be honest in their approach to deals and speeds, and get consumers back on their side."

Methodology

The poll was on the Mobile Broadband Genie website during Q3 2009. There were 1,156 participants: "Are 'free' laptop' deals good value for money?" Yes 174 (15.1%); No 685 (59.3%); 297 (25.7%).

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Tags: laptop  mobile broadband  broadband  UK