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Apple iPad On Monthly Contracts To Start From £40?

After the official release of Apple iPad and the availability of the tablet PC on preorder, one can genuinely ask whether mobile phone operators in the UK will be releasing the 3G version on a Monthly contract.

We already know that supplies of the iPad are very, very tight; the first contingent of iPad tablets has already been sold out in the UK with the next batch being shipped on the 7th of June. There is also anecdotal evidence (opens in new tab) that the same is happening in the US.

For now, demand is significantly outstripping what Apple can produce and it is only as supply constraints ease that one can expect Apple to give its green light to mobile networks to start selling iPad on monthly contracts.

The cheapest iPad 3G is currently for £529; this makes it as expensive as the Dell Inspiron 14Z or the Sony Vaio EB1E at Carphone Warehouse, one of the many retailers that bundle mobile broadband packages with laptops.

Based on our calculations, the most affordable mobile contracts would need to be at least worth £40 per month over two years in order to be worth considering.

Obviously, the price will be dependent on whether Apple gets some commission on iPad data packages, something that PCPro (opens in new tab) asked the three networks which have officially announced their partnership with Apple.

Unsurprisingly, none of them commented, possibly to avoid the wrath of Apple. It is highly possible that this will be the case; after all, O2 is offering the 16GB iPhone 3GS with unlimited data, texts and WiFi and 1200 minutes for £50 per month.

Remove the texts and the minutes and suddenly it does make sense for O2 to sell the iPad, which is a bigger version of the iPhone without the phone, on a monthly contract.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.