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Eagle-eyed shoppers in cities around the UK could grab themselves a free laptop thanks to a novel new scheme to promote Carphone Warehouse/AOL's new broadband offers.

Tomorrow, the company will "set free" 200 laptops around Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham and Southampton.

Details of how shoppers can claim the laptops were not released by Carphone Warehouse/AOL, but the firms did warn that those competing should "stay observant".

Charles Dunstone, chief executive officer, of Carphone Warehouse, told Tech.co.uk: "This is us literally 'setting 200 Dell laptops free' to passers-by.

"The reason for doing something so bold is that we really want to revolutionise broadband use in the UK and make it accessible to each and every one of us - freeing Britons from the constraints of wired technology."

After locating a laptop, the finders will then have to register it at a nearby branch of Carphone Warehouse, upon which they will also be given two-years of broadband access for free.

The promotion comes ahead of the launch of Carphone Warehouse/ AOL's new offers, whereby those signing up for two years or more are to be given a free laptop. The deal also applies to the first 200,000 subscribers signing up for the service.

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