AT&T is going large with their netbook plans, offering the Dell Mini 10, Acer Aspire One and Lenovo S10 at brick/mortar stores and online. But at a slightly subsidized $200 apiece on a two-year, minimum $40/mo contract, they’re comically expensive.
Let’s do some math! On this plan, your Atom-based netbook running Windows XP will set you back about $1160 in total, assuming you’re somehow able to keep your internet usage below 200MB a month. (Note: Nobody does this.) If you want a slightly more realistic plan—a still-anemic 5GB a month—you’ll have to step up to $60 and month, which pushes your cost of ownership to $1640.
Even a modest cellphone plan adds up a to a lot in the long term, but we expect something in return: decent calling plans, effectively unlimited data, and a free, or at least heavily subsidized handset. The only thing you’re getting here is an oppressive transfer cap, some Wi-Fi hotspot access and about $100 off street price on a few modestly-specced netbooks. I guess if you’re set on AT&T’s data service anyway, it’s not a terrible deal, but it’s sure as hell not a good one. [