Acer in talks with Europe's operators for 3G mini laptop

Acer said it is in discussions with European operators T-Mobile International, Vodafone Group and Orange to supply mini laptops with built-in 3G. The company says it is also talking to Taiwanese operators Chunghwa Telecom and Taiwan Mobile. Acer's Aspire one already includes 802.11b/g but left room to install WiMAX or 3G modules. The 3G module Acer would add web access using HSDPA and HSUPA (High Speed Downlink/Uplink Packet Access) The Aspire one is priced between US$399  and $499 standalone, but mobile service providers could subsidize part of that cost to encourage people to sign up for a 3G contracts.

Some European operators such as Vodafone and Orange already sell subsidized laptops in certain markets. U.S. operators haven't been interested as they already don't like the subsidy game. A report issued by Pyramid Research last year suggested that wireless carriers that sell laptops in their stores may help improve uptake of their wireless broadband services.

Another mini-laptop maker in talks with European operators is Asustek Computer with its Eee PC. Taiwan's Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), says it has already signed up wireless service providers in Europe to distribute its G10IL netbook.

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