Retailer offers a free laptop with broadband packages

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The Independent Online

The communications retailer Carphone Warehouse is stepping up its offensive on the wireless communications market tomorrow by launching an expanded free laptop with broadband offer.

The retailer will offer customers six models of laptops when they buy a broadband package from one of seven providers, including 3, T-Mobile and Orange, as well as Carphone Warehouse's own TalkTalk.

Carphone Warehouse will offer the free laptop with broadband at 100 stores from tomorrow, rolling out the deal across its 800-plus stores this summer. Customers will be able to pay more for a higher-spec laptop. The company's free laptop package with AOL Broadband, launched last year, offered one model.

Carphone Warehouse's new business and multi-channel director Andy Brem said the launch "is very significant. This is only the start. We are doing with laptops and broadband what we did with mobile phones".

The company owns 100 per cent of its fixed line telecoms business in the UK, comprising TalkTalk, AOL Broadband and Opal. It introduced its first new format store on London's Oxford Street last year, selling far more connectivity products, such as for TV and musical equipment, than the company's standard store.

US electrical giant Best Buy bought a 50 per cent stake in Carphone's retail arm last month for £1.1bn. Carphone is to expand its offer for laptops and other connectivity products in best Buy's 2,400 stores across Europe. Best Buy, which owns a 2.9 per cent stake in Carphone, will open its first electricals store in the UK next year.

The Office of Fair Trading is examining the joint venture to determine the deal's impact on competition. There is a deadline of 3 June for representations.