Orange is set to deal a blow to PC retailers next month with the announcement that it is to begin offering its customers subsidised laptops in exchange for signing up to a 24 month contract for its mobile broadband service.
The network operator has signed deals with Asus and HP to offer what are essentially free laptops to its consumer and business customers. The firm had previously signalled its intentions to enter the PC market when chief executive Tom Alexander said he wanted the company to 'evolve' as reported by PC Retail but few other details had emerged since then.
Consumers will be able to get their hands on Asus' Eee PC 900 16G model by signing up to a £25-a-month contract, while business customers will be offered a range of HP laptops including the 6370s and 6730b series with tariffs ranging from £35 to £45 per month.
Orange retail stores and orange.co.uk will be stocking Asus' Eee PC from August for consumers looking to take advantage of the deal, while the business contracts will be available from telesales.
Speaking about the move, devices director at Orange UK, Francois Mahieu said: "We're committed to delivering quality, service and innovation for customers, so we're really pleased to be launching a range of connected laptop offers with out first partners HP and Asus.
"Over time, we will be looking to expand our offering even further with more suppliers who are at the forefront of laptop technology, making it even easier for our customers to connect to the internet seamlessly, whether it is for work or play."