Verizon Netbook to hit stores this weekend

It's official: Verizon Wireless announces its first Netbook, but the hefty contract-based service prices will likely deter price conscious consumers.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
3 min read

Verizon Wireless will start selling Netbook computers from Hewlett-Packard starting Sunday, the company said in a statement released Thursday.

As previously reported by the Boy Genius Report, the HP Mini 1151NR Netbook will be priced at $199.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and will require users sign a two-year service agreement for wireless broadband services.

Verizon Wireless will begin selling the HP Mini 1151NR Netbook on Sunday. Verizon Wireless

Verizon is sticking with its current 3G wireless pricing. But it has increased the amount of data downloads per month for its lowest tier of service. Now subscribers will be able to get the $40 a month plan with 250 Megabytes of data per month. Previously, the $40 a month plan only offered 50 MB of data downloads per month. The overage charge on this plan has been reduced to 10 cents per megabyte over the limit. Previously, the company charged 25 cents per megabyte for overages.

The $60 a month plan will still offer a maximum of 5GB of data, but Verizon has reduced the overage price to 5 cents per megabyte over the 5GB limit, instead of the 25 cents it previously charged.

Verizon is also offering a Mobile Broadband DayPass for $15. This day pass gives users access to the Internet for 24 hours and can be purchased for any Verizon certified mobile device that is purchased at full retail price without a monthly service plan, the company said.

The modifications to the data plan are a sign that Verizon is trying to add more value to its wireless broadband service. But at these hefty prices, many consumers may still find the price of the two-year service contracts too stiff.

With the current pricing, Verizon Netbook users can expect to spend $1,160 to $1,640 during the life of the contract for the service and Netbook, depending on which plan they choose. (This doesn't include taxes or fees.) HP's Mini 1000 Netbooks only cost about $300 without a 3G service contract.

Verizon Wireless's international data plan is even more expensive. The device can access wireless broadband on both CDMA and GSM wireless networks in more than 175 destinations worldwide, the company said. And with a SIM card, GlobalAccess customers can sign up for one of two service plans.

They can get the GlobalAccess Monthly plan, which costs $130 a month for 100 MB worth of data downloads per month in more than 30 select international destinations. This same plan allows for 5 GB of downloads per month in the U.S. and Canada. All other destinations are charged pay-per-use rates.

The second option for globetrotters looking to stay connected with their Netbooks is the Global Access Pay Per Use plan, which allows subscribers of the $60 a month mobile broadband plan in the U.S. to get special rates on international usage. The Pay Per Use rate is $0.002 per kilobyte in Canada, $0.005 per KB in Mexico, and $0.02 KB in more than 175 other destinations.

At steep prices like these, Verizon may find more success letting consumers buy their own Netbooks and signing them up for individual $15 day passes.