2/21/2008 11:41:00 AM
Carphone in talks with big-name laptop brands
Carphone Warehouse is in talks with big-name laptop brands, as it looks to introduce the same hardware subsidy model in laptops as it enjoys in the mobile market.
Mobile understands that Carphone bosses have held discussions with the likes of Apple, Sony and Toshiba in recent weeks.
Carphone expects the laptop market to grow by 35% to sales of five million this year, increasing from 3.7 million laptops sold last year.
Carphone currently sells Dell laptops which it started offering for free with its own AOL broadband deals, but is now selling a subsidised Dell laptop with USB dongles from 3 and T-Mobile on the top packages.
The mobile retailer’s UK chief, Andrew Harrison, said 2008 would be ‘the year of the laptop’ in his predictions for Mobile magazine.
Carphone believes it can outmuscle the likes of Currys to bundle laptops and broadband subscriptions.
The company is looking to cash in on the acquisition drive in the broadband market with the likes of Orange, Virgin and its own TalkTalk and AOL brands
trying to grow market share.
Carphone is expected to offer a broad range of laptop brands and models in the coming months to make the most of the buoyant laptop market.
Asked if Carphone was talking to Apple or Sony, Harrison said: ‘We are talking to lots of people, it’s an exciting space.
‘We already have a pretty good share of the market with just one model.’
Carphone wants to instil the same subsidised model in the laptop market as there is in the mobile market, where Carphone provides hardware in the shape of a laptop for the customer as well as the subscription to a USB dongle or fixed-line broadband.
Just like in the mobile phone model, the cost of the laptop would come from the commission given to Carphone from the operator.
Dongle sales have been a welcome fillip for the mobile industry, with sales up to 25,000 per month on contract and prepay – more than double since September.
Retail sources with 3 and T-Mobile said dongles were accounting for more than 40% in some stores.
Dongles now make up around a fifth of all T-Mobile and 3 contracts.