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Orange and T-Mobile Offer iPad for £199

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Have you been craving one of Apple’s beautiful (if limited) tablets but haven’t been able to scrape together enough sheckles to buy one? Well today could be your lucky day as both Orange and T-Mobile have announced they will sell the iPad for just £199.

Yes people, you read it right. The 16GB WiFi and 3G-enabled iPad will be on sale very soon from both providers for just under £200. Oh, you will have to sign up to at least a 24month contract at £27-a-month (£25 if you’re an existing customer). For that money you will get 1GB of unlimited anytime data and a further 1GB of quiet time date. Quiet time data is anything between midnight and 10am – so not much good to non-insomniacs then. There is also unlimited access to BT Openzone WiFi (unlimited that is to the limit of 3GB).
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Those looking for a more sizeable iPad can get the 32GB iPad for £249 up front with the 64GB costing £349, both on the same two-year contract and £25/£27 tariff. This move by both networks is a major shift considering no other provider is offering subsidised deals on iPads at the moment.

Looking at the maths it seems as if the reduced £199 initial price for the tablet will be off-set by the cost of the contract over two years. A new customer to T-Mobile or Orange will be forking out £324-a-year for their subscription while people on Sim-only deals will be paying somewhere around £100-£120 over the course of the year. Therefore while the offer does seem enticing, it works out at pretty much the same as if you bought an iPad from Apple and used a sim-only plan for two years.
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No doubt the headline price of £199 will attract a lot of people looking to buy an iPad but without the readies to pay full whack. The deal boils down to, in effect, an elaborate hire-purchase scheme for wannabe tablet owners. It does show however that despite the slew of alternate tablets on offer these days, none has come close to grabbing the attention of the public in the way the iPad has.

Both companies are offering identical rates and prices because since last May they have become part of the same company Everything Everywhere. 3 has also indicated they will be offering subsidised iPad and no doubt O2 and Vodafone will jump on the bandwagon in the near future too. however with a new iteration of the iPad due in the early months of 2011, people on this plan could be stuck with an outdated Apple tablet for up to 20 months. Ouch!

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