Tata Teleservices and Acer yesterday launched ‘Aspire One AOD 260’ an Embedded Netbook priced at Rs. 17,999 (plus taxes), with a built in Photon Plus modem, with EVDO service, just a couple of months after Reliance Communications did the same. The question that I have about buying an embedded services is – can I switch to another service provider, using the same hardware, or will I have to buy another USB Dongle?

When I’d switched from Tata’s (torturous) 2G Internet service a few years ago, to Reliance Netconnect (2G), I was forced to buy a new modem, when all I should have had to do, is change the SIM card. With push that’s going to be made by multiple service providers for 3G data cards, with at least four 3G service providers per circle (including BSNL/MTNL), there is no reason why consumers should have to pay extra for hardware in case they’re changing their service provider. At present, the hardware cost serves as a lock-in for a consumer, and this isn’t in the interest of the consumer. All you should need, is a new SIM card, although with Mobile Number Portability, even that shouldn’t be necessary for you to switch to a different network.

It will probably be a few years before the TRAI looks into this, but the sooner, the better. That aside, I don’t see any reason to buy a Netbook with an EVDO modem embedded, when 3G services are going to be launched soon.