Mobile operators invade PC retail market

3 and Orange enter the fray but analyst warns indies may never get offered the same deals
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Mobile operators are preparing to dramatically reshape the PC retail sector after 3 and Orange announced that they would be joining Carphone Warehouse and DSGi in offering subsidised laptops with mobile broadband contracts.

From the beginning of August, 3 began offering customers in its stores a range of HP laptops including its Mini-Note netbook when they take out a two-year contract between £30 and £40.

Similarly, Orange announced that it would be targeting both consumers and business customers with a variety of packages, beginning with the Asus Eee PC.

PC Retail approached a spokeswoman for Vodafone who told us that while the operator had deals with DSGi and Dell, it currently has no plans to expand its offerings into either the IT or mobile independent retail and reseller channels.

O2, which offers similar deals through Carphone Warehouse, told PC Retail that the firm also has no plans to offer similar deals to the channel, but was keeping its eye on things.

However, IDC's Lucie Jichova warned: "The deals might spread to some of the other big stores, but in terms of the smaller, specialist shops, I can't see them being made available to them."

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