Carriers may subsidize Dell's new netbook for 3G, WiFi service contracts

Carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Sprint may soon be subsidizing the cost of Dell's new Inspirion Mini-9 notebook when customers sign a long-term wireless service contract.

Though unconfirmed, Dell CEO Michael Dell predicted earlier this week that the move would happen soon, and John Thode, Dell's VP of small-screen consumer devices, said the announcement of such a deal would be forthcoming. The move would turn the traditional model of carriers subsidizing the cost of handsets and transfer it to ultra-mobile PCs, an untested market which brings its own risks and rewards. 

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