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Free Dell Notebooks with AOL Broadband

The UK mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse has annoucned a plan whereby consumers who sign up for two years of Internet access via AOL Broadbandwill get a coupon for a free Dell Inspiron notebook computer. The move is designed to bring new customers to theincreasingly-saturated broadband market, and counters a similar promotion being run by mobile operator Orange UK.

Carphone Warehouse’s deal with AOL Broadband costs subscribers £19.99 a month (a little over $40 US); with a two year commitment, consumers would pay a total of £479.76 (just over $985 US) for two years of broadband service and a notebook to go with it. The offer isn’t expected to appeal to technologically hip who are already using broadband and mobile services; instead, its’ designed to bring new customers and older consumers to the market—and while the companies may not be making much money on this deal, these are the types of consumers who tend to be very loyal over time.

The Dell Inspiron notebook offered in the deal runs on an Intel Celeron 540 processor, offers a 15.4-inch display, and comes with Windows Vista Home Basic, 1 GB of RAM, an 80 GB hard drive, an 8× DVD burner, and 802.11 Wi-Fi wireless connectivity. Customers will need to pay a £14.88 delivery fee for the notebook, and can choose to pay for add-ons and upgrades to the system.

The move marks another departure for Dell, which traditionally has only sold computers directly to customers, eschewing traditional retail channels. However, with the return of foundder Michael Dell, the company has begun offering systems through retailers as a way to rebuild its declining market share. Recently Dell began selling entry-level systems through mega-retailer Wal-Mart.

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