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Orange has unveiled an attractive new deal, offering consumers a special edition Asus Eee 901 laptop with in-built 3G connectivity for free when they sign up to its mobile broadband service.

Under the terms of the offer, which is available from mid-November, customers who sign up for Orange Broadband’s Internet Everywhere Package at £25 per month for two years get the Asus Eee 901 laptop (retail price: £299.99) at no extra charge. The deal also includes a free mobile USB modem stick and 100 texts from your laptop. Owners can expect download speeds of up to 1.8Mbps and a monthly download limit of 3GB.

The inclusion in the deal of a laptop with integrated 3G connectivity marks a step away from the swathe of mobile broadband with laptop packages which had provided the service via a bundled USB modem or dongle. Orange is now the second UK provider to offer such a deal, suggesting that this is likely to prove a market trend in months to come. Vodafone currently offers a notebook with embedded 3G connectivity in the form of its Dell Mini 9 incentive. This is also available on a 24-month contract for a monthly payment of £25. However, it differs from Orange’s offer in that the monthly download limit is 1GB.

The announcement from Orange comes as the UK’s broadband providers gear up for a spate of increasingly cut-throat competition as Christmas approaches. Francois Mahieu, director of devices at the firm, is confident that the deal should enable the company to steal a march on rivals in the next seven weeks.

He said: “By introducing the Eee PC 901 with integrated connectivity, we’re now making it even easier for customers to purchase a flexible solution that allows them to access the internet when they are out and about. As a result, we strongly believe this will be one of the most popular device offers in the marketplace this Christmas.”

Market watchers, however, may question whether Orange will be able to keep up with demand for its mobile broadband laptop incentives. Last month reports surfaced that its bundled stock of Hewlett Packard and Asus laptops had completely sold out in the face of what the company’s retail sales director described as “amazing” sales. We can but hope.

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