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Hayes offering modem rebates

The move will lower the price of some 56- and 33.6-kbps models below $100.

Hayes Microcomputer announced today that it will offer rebates on 56-kbps modems, a move that will lower the price of some models below $100 as modem vendors try to entice customers into upgrading for faster online connections.

Hayes says it will offer $40 mail-in rebates on its Accura line of 56-kbps and 33.6-kbps modems and its Optima line of 56-kbps and 33.6-kbps PC Card modems for notebooks. Some modem models will be available for less than $100 with the rebates.

Hayes's pricing action follows a price cut earlier this week by Motorola (MOT), which is selling the ModemSurfr56K and VoiceSurfr56K at prices ranging from $99 to $129 in the United States.

The price reductions could signal a slowing in modem sales as consumers debate whether to buy non-standard technology.

The International Telecommunications Union was originally expected to set a preliminary standard for 56-kbps modems this September but will delay a standard until at least January because companies continue to grapple with concerns about licensing each other's technology.

3Com's U.S. Robotics modems with x2 technology don't operate with modems based on Rockwell and Lucent K56flex technology, since standards have not yet been set.

Already, 3Com says its latest quarterly results were affected by slower than anticipated modem sales. Other modem companies may be similarly affected in upcoming quarters.

Hayes says the modems are based on K56flex technology. The company says it still promises free upgrades to the final ITU standard for all 56-kbps modem customers.