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Verizon To Launch Subsidized Netbook

Basking Ridge, N.J. — Verizon Wireless is following AT&T into the subsidized netbook business with the planned May 17 availability of the Hewlett-Packard Mini 1151NR, at $199 after $50 rebate, through and Verizon Wireless-owned Communications Stores.

The carrier will also make the device available through indirect retail channels “if they choose to carry it,” a spokeswoman said.

The price requires a two-year contract for a variety of data plans starting at $39.99/month. The rebate takes the form of a debit card. The unsubsidized price is $519.99.

AT&T also subsidizes its netbook pricesand Philadelphia, AT&T is trialing subsidized netbooks bundled with cellular, Wi-Fi hot spot, and wireline broadband service for $49, or $99 without landline service. through RadioShack. In Atlanta

Verizon’s HP netbook will work in U.S. CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A networks and, thanks to Qualcomm’s Gobi chipset, in quadband EDGE and triband 3G HSPA mode in foreign countries. Consumers get an EDGE/HSPA SIM card when they sign up for a global data plan. The device also features 802.11b/g and Bluetooth.

The 2.4-pound netbook features 10.1-inch LED display, three-cell battery, Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 80GB hard drive, two USB ports, Windows XP Home Edition, Microsoft Works to view (but not edit) Microsoft Word and Excel files, stereo speakers, SD/MMC card slot and no CD/DVD drive. More than 30 preinstalled applications include Internet Explorer 7, Adobe Reader and Flash Player, MicrosoftWorks, Windows Media Player 11, HP Wireless Assistant, Symantec Norton Internet Security 2009 (including 60 days of complimentary live updates) and AOL IM.

VZAccess Manager software provides wireless-connection management, including viewing of Wi-Fi hot spots in the area. Customers who hit specific usage thresholds will get automatic alerts that pop up when VZAccess Manager is active.

New data-pricing plans are also going into effect, Verizon said. They include $39.99 monthly access for 250MB of usage and 10 cents per MB overage. The plan compares with a current $39.99 plan providing only 50MB/month with a 25-cent charge for every additional MB.

A $59.99 monthly plan includes 5GB/month and 5 cents per additional MBs. That compares with a current $59.99 plan offering 5GB with 25-cent overage charge per MB.

The company also offers a $15 Day Pass plan providing 24-hour access if the device is purchased without subsidy.

Also beginning Sunday, the company will launch other new data plans. One lets users add data service for $49.99 with any qualifying voice plan. Another is a $15 plan allowing for nationwide email. They include 5GB of data usage, and the overage charge will drop to 5 cents per MB from 25 cents.