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Orange mobile broadband USB stick

Orange could be about to launch mobile broadband deals packaged with MacBooks, in a development that many are suggesting is a sign of Apple’s dissatisfaction with its UK iPhone partner O2.

Rumours of an agreement between the UK internet service provider (ISP) and Apple first appeared on Mobile Today. The site reported that a MacBook mobile broadband offer could be launched by Orange as early as this summer and claimed that the company has been conducting extensive tests on MacBooks with its dongles to iron out any potential problems.

It is thought that the deal would involve Orange committing to buy a set number of MacBooks from Apple, which the network will subsidise and offer in conjunction with an Orange dongle for a monthly subscription. Such a deal would be the first time ever in the UK that an Apple laptop has been available with a mobile broadband.

Neither company involved has so far confirmed the rumour and consequently price points for the deals have yet to be established. However, because of the high costs of MacBooks compared with some budget laptops, such as those made by Asus, any offers are likely to be more expensive than those currently available and could limit the deals' appeal.

Conversely, it is possible that the MacBook packages may enjoy strong demand because they allow consumers access to a higher specification laptop than they might otherwise be able to afford. This factor has highly effective in fuelling the popularity of existing mobile broadband laptop deals and is expected to become even more influential as conditions in the economy continue to worsen this year.

Industry experts anticipate that the collaboration could in future result in Orange bringing to market Apple laptop deals which feature devices that are embedded with an Orange SIM card. Such offers have been commonplace in the PC laptop market for some time. However they have yet to arrive for Apple laptops.

Meanwhile, further speculation surrounds the question of why Apple would team up with Orange for the offers, having previously paired with rival UK operator O2 for the launch of the iPhone. If widespread conjecture is to be believed, the decision may have been inspired by complaints from iPhone customers over the 3G mobile broadband speeds that O2’s network is capable of.

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