Consumer PC manufacturer Tiny is the first UK company to offer customers free PCs - but they'll have to wait a year.
The company announced today that it is entering the telecoms arena with the launch of Tinytelecom and that it will give every new subscriber a free PC.
However, there are several requirements. The company said all Tinytelecom subscribers with an average call charge of £25 per month quality for the free PC package and will receive their PC on the first anniversary as a Tinytelecom subscriber.
Customers who want to receive their PC immediately must sign a 12 month call agreement that requires them to spend £25 minimum on call charges per month.
The free PC includes a 300MHz Intel Celeron processor, Windows 98, a CD Rom, 56Kbps modem, 3.2Gbyte hard drive and 32Mbyte of memory, but no monitor. All connecting cables to enable customers to connect the PC to a standard TV screen will also be included.
Tiny said that any subscribers who want a higher specification PC immediately can have one for a charge of £7.89 per month over four years. This PC will include a faster processor, larger disk drive, plus a 15 inch colour monitor, two speakers plus one year's insurance.
Neil Stevens, marketing director at Tiny, said the company hopes to make money in several ways.
"We will make money on telephone calls, advertising and hope to retain our customers. After the year is up we will have various offers such as free Internet minutes to keep our customers. One problem that companies, such as Freeserve, are experiencing is that of loyalty. People can get free Internet access from anywhere," he said.
He added that Microsoft would be running Tiny's portal from 1 August.
Andy Brown, analyst with research company IDC, said Tiny's deal, along with a raft of other free PC deals in the US are, "never as straightforward as they seem."
He commented: "Officially you're paying for Internet services, but really you're paying for the PC. I believe Tiny is just jumping on the free Internet access bandwagon. They want something to differentiate themselves from the rest."
Brown said he expected other consumer PC makers to follow with similar deals.
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