The give-away game heats up

Amid the furore over Australia's NBN, we've been relatively quiet on other aspects of broadband in this column of late.

Fortunately, Vodafone hasn't been. Last week the company announced a partnership with Dell that will see the Inspiron Mini 9 netbook ship with built-in mobile broadband.

We've previously been quite critical of the Australian telcos, particularly Optus, for continuing to push for mobile broadband subscribers despite mediocre network performance.

This initiative, however, seems like an excellent one. The Dell Inspiron Mini 9 will be the first netbook in Australia to come with built-in mobile broadband, negating the need for plugging in a USB modem.

The built-in 3G modem in the Mini 9 is also supposed to deliver increased battery life and network reception — according to Vodafone and Dell, of course.

Provided Vodafone is confident it can offer an appropriate level of service, the benefit to the consumer is an excellent one.

Amid the global financial crisis many companies have resorted to these types of give-aways to entice purchases — and it isn't just mobile broadband.

Recently, Sony gave away free PlayStation 3 consoles with selected Bravia LCD televisions. This week, Panasonic followed its lead by announcing consumers who purchase selected Viera Full HD televisions will receive a free Nintendo Wii. Not to be outdone, Toshiba is giving away a free netbook to anyone who purchases selected XV500 TVs.

We're sure they'll be many more of these give-aways. And this can only be beneficial to us, the consumers.