The industry has been discussing the merits of embedded 3G and the resulting opportunity for more widespread adoption of mobile broadband for years, but major announcements of such initiatives have been few and far between. Into the breach comes AT&T Inc., which has inked a deal with Dell Computer to embed AT&T’s 3G wireless into notebooks and netbooks.
The goal? To capture the lucrative small and medium business market, which heretofore has been slow to embrace mobile broadband. AT&T said the initiative is also part of the company-wide directive to bring wireless capabilities to emerging devices beyond handsets and smartphones.
First up is the Dell Vostro 1520, which U.S. small business customers can as of Wednesday purchase at a discounted rate. Of course, a data plan goes along with the device. If a user signs up for a two-year AT&T DataConnect 5GB monthly service plan, which runs about $60 per month, the Dell Vostro will set him or her back $633.
AT&T can also embed 3G into other Dell notebooks and netbooks – including Inspiron, Latitude, Precision and XPS devices. SMBs would purchase the devices through Dell, which will do the customization and configuration of devices to meet a business’ unique computing needs.
“Today’s small businesses are on the go more than ever and, as a result, need to be connected via wireless more than ever,” said Jennifer Jackson, vice president, Small Business Solutions for AT&T, in a statement. “With AT&T’s mobile broadband offerings, small businesses can get the most from their computing devices. Our 3G service allows small businesses to send and receive e-mail, including large attachments; access the Internet, including corporate intranets or VPNs; and perform business applications almost anywhere they can make a wireless phone call.”