updated 08:40 pm EST, Mon November 29, 2010
25 months @ $56/month gets a free 16GB model
Discounted or subsidized iPads are starting to appear in certain European and Asian countries, promoted by telecoms who want to sign users up for 3G data contracts -- and where Apple's iAd program is set to expand. Japan's Softbank is about to launch the most heavily-subsidized deal, offering a 16GB 3G/Wi-Fi iPad for free to users who sign a two-year, $56/month 3G data contract beginning sometime early next year, MoCoNews.net reports.
Apple has been allowing deals with cellular providers to subsidize the cost of the iPad for months, including European providers Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and 3, along with Korean provider KT. The timing of Softbank's offer as well as those of the Euro carriers coincides with Apple'sexpansion of iAd into the Japanese and European markets.
In the US, Apple has favored a pay-as-you-go unsubsidized option for 3G data with the iPad, although the company did recently allow AT&T and rival Verizon to begin selling iPads and optional no-contract data plans to go with them. AT&T business buyers can sign up for postpaid data subscription plans for the iPad, but this option is not yet available to consumers. [via MoCoNews.net]