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September 08, 2008

Vodafone Partners with Dell to Sell Netbooks

By Rajani Baburajan, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Telecom operators have been trying to find new opportunities to improve their bottom line and top line. Vodafone (News - Alert), a primary cellular service provider, has joined hands with Dell to sell Dell’s new netbook, the Inspiron Mini 9, with built-in mobile broadband.

The mobile broadband built-in notebooks are expected to hit the market later this month. Though Vodafone has presence in a number of countries, the initial focus will be in key European markets. Vodafone is yet to spell out details about other countries.
The price of the Inspiron Mini 9 with built-in mobile broadband is yet to be announced.
The deal is expected to benefit both enterprises and individual users. The Inspiron Mini 9 weighs over 1 kilogram, and has an 8.9-inch LED display and it has a solid-state disk (SSD) for storage, holding up to 16GB.

The Vodafone version of the netbook supports download speeds up to 7.2Mbps and upload speeds up to 2Mbps, using High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) and High-Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA). The Inspiron Mini 9 also comes with Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) connectivity, according to company spokesman, Ben Taylor.
Partnership between telecom operators and notebook/netbook vendors is a growing market trend. Vodafone is not the only operator that is involved in such a deal. Recently, Orange, Telenor, and TeliaSonera (News - Alert) also announced similar plans.

The deal is expected to generate new growth opportunities for both Vodafone and Dell (News - Alert).
The deal comes at a time when the telecom industry faces flat growth in areas such as voice, short message service (SMS) and roaming.
“As growth has flattened in areas including voice, SMS, and roaming, operators have been forced to look elsewhere, and the addition of laptops to their offerings is a no-brainer,” said Shaun Collins, managing director, CCS Insight, a market intelligence agency.
“For the operator it's all additional business, there are for example no interconnect costs it has to share with others,” said Collins, who thinks that next year laptops will grow to be as important to operators as mobile phones.

The new trend is yet to take off in a big way. Many such deals are expected to be announced in coming months as notebook manufacturers are also looking for additional growth from new segments.
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Fixed Service Strategies for Mobile Network Operators, brought to you by Comverse (News - Alert).

Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart

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