Freeserve and Tiny Computers have joined the growing ranks of US companies which have launched bargain-basement bundles of cheap PCs and Internet access.
Last week, Tiny announced it would offer free Internet-capable PCs to customers who signed up for a minimum £25 per month charge for 12 months. The deal is being run in conjunction with its sister telecoms operator Tiny Telecom.
Meanwhile, US computer manufacturer Microworkz.com has confirmed it is in advanced talks with Freeserve to distribute its basic specification iToaster PC in the UK, which retails for $199 (£128) in the US.
The moves follow an announcement by AOL that it will give away rival E-Machine PCs to American customers signing long-term subscription deals with CompuServe, in an attempt to match a similar offer from Microsoft’s MSN.
But Adam Dawm, senior analyst at UK-based Internet market company INTECO, warns: “These deals aren’t all good value; the spec may not meet your needs; and some involve a Faustian pact where your behaviour is monitored or you are bombarded with advertising.”