Skip to main content

If you can’t afford a fancy Macbook Pro (Stock Quote: AAPL) but you’re feeling left out of the coffee shop laptop club, a new netbook plan from AT&T Wireless might just work out in your favor.

AT&T (Stock Quote: T) is offering a broadband service plan for netbooks. Those signing up for a data service contract at $60 a month will get a big discount, paying as little as $50 for the mini laptops with quick startup, fuss-free Internet access, email, word processing, a media player and webcam. The deal, announced last week and currently only available in Philadelphia and Atlanta, works like a cell phone plan; while the laptop itself is cheap, you’ll be locked into a two-year contract. Still, not bad for the email addict without easy access to wireless hot spots.

For $50, after a $100 mail-in rebate, you can get an Acer Aspire One, a three-pound, nine-inch mini laptop with 160 gigabytes of storage space. If you’re a Dell loyalist, you’ll have to put up at least $149 for a netbook, the Dell Mini 9 with only eight gigabytes of RAM (Stock Quote: DELL). If a nine-inch screen isn’t enough for your mobile movie watching habit, there are larger Dell, LG and Lenovo netbooks available for $350 to $850. And, just as with their cell phones, the AT&T plan comes with free shipping and free in-store technical help.

For occasional email users, a cheaper, 200-megabyte data plan is available for $40 per month. The plan is recommended for those in range of one of the 17,000 AT&T wi–fi hotspots and who go online three to four times a week.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at