Three tots up iPad subsidy
Three has matched Orange's iPad discount, offering today the 16GB 3G-enabled tablet for £199 if you pick it up with a two-year, £25-a-month data contract.
That's a better deal than Orange touted last week. You'll cough up £848 in total to Orange, but only £800 to Three, which gives you a monthly data transfer allowance of 15GB to Orange's 2GB.
Three's monthly sub is the same whatever 3G iPad you select, but the up-front cost increase to £249 for the 32GB model and to £349 for the 64GB tablet.
Prices direct from Apple are £529, £599 and £699, but then you're free to buy as much or as little data as you need.
Three will sell you 10GB of data a month for £15 on a 30-day rolling contract. That's £360 for two years, which comes to a total of £889 with the 16GB iPad. So the subsidised deal is better value over the 24-month period, and gives you more data.
Still, it's a lot if all you need is occasional data access that can't be served by your home or work Wi-Fi network. ®
I have a 2Gb/month usage for £5/month from Three (as a existing customer I got 50% discount) and they will even give you a micro SIM card for free .. that does me fine on my iPad and most people can get a 2% discount off an iPad (through Apple EPP or Student online shops) .. so for the penny pinchers (like me) buy from Apple online and haggle with Three 8-).
Of course if you want an iPad now then consider that the iPad 2 will come out early next year so if you can wait 6 months (after having waited 6 months since the iPad 1 came out) then hold your fire and get the next generation (thinner, faster, longer life and facetime ready .. or so the rumours have it!).
These deals are okay
No real disagreement. It is deferred payment, just like most other mobile phone contracts. The data part is worth something though. Three will give you 15Gb of data a month for about £15 a month with a USB dongle. On that basis, the iPad is costing you an additional 24x10 + 199 = £439, which is not too bad given its retail price is £529.
Of course, Three will normally give you 25% off the cost of a mobile broadband contract if you ask nicely, so on that basis, the iPad is costing an additional 24x13.75 + 199 = £529, which is exactly the retail price.
Three will sometimes give you 50% off mobile broadband if you are at the end of a contract and are talking to the customer retention department. This makes the iPad deal look expensive. On the other hand, they might well give you a discount on their iPad deal too. I haven't tried to find out.
Of course, you may not need 15Gb a month. If not, buying an iPad at retail and getting a cheaper data plan is probably a better idea.
It is a subsidy, they are subsidising £349 of the iPad for you (In the case of the £200 one), in return they request you guarantee them 24 months of business at £25 a month to obtain that subsidy, it is not unusual to put strings on a subsidy of any description.
You're getting confused between a credit agreement and the Total Cost of Ownership argument, and the TCO of a 3 iPad plan vs 3 iPad looks like this:
Subsidised iPad + data plan = £199 + (25 x 24) = £799
Full price iPad + data plan = £549 + ((15/10) * 15) * 24 = £1089 (the crazy price plan is calc is to up the 10gb to 15gb based on price per meg)
Even if you went on the rolling contract for the full 24 months
Full price iPad + data plan (£10 a month) = £909
On the cheap data plan
Full price iPad + data plan (£7.50 a month) = £729, but you only get a gig
If you're planning to get an iPad and use a 3G data connection this is a deal, cause it is a heck of a lot cheaper than the equivilant sim only deal, so yes, a subsidy. (even Orange's deal isn't awful, no where near as good as this one though)
Yes if you're dumb enough to go "£199 cool, then only £25 for 24 months and I'm never going to use the data plan", you're an idiot and you may as well burn your money in a pit to keep warm, if you're planning to use the data the deal is perfectly good and works out pretty cheap for the overall package, very cheap infact.