Austrian Wireless Carrier Preparing to Offer Subsidized iPad
TamsIJungle reports (via Engadget) that it received word from wireless carrier Hutchison Austria that the company is planning to offer subsidized iPads for users willing to commit to a two-year data contract with the company. According to Hutchison Austria CEO Berthold Thoma:
Hutchison Austria will be the first Austrian carrier to bundle the iPad. We will do so via our long-established laptop bundle, which offers customers a 333euro rebate if they agree to a 2yr contract offering 5GB of data for 29.90euro.
Thoma also noted that, because the initial supply of iPad models will be Wi-Fi-only, the company will bundle the iPad with a Wi-Fi-based 3G modem for connectivity. Thoma's comments do not necessarily suggest that the carrier has worked with Apple on the subsidized pricing, however, as it would appear simple enough for the carrier to purchase iPad units on its own prior to bundling them for sale to its customers.
Questionable early reports had claimed that Apple was looking to pursue arrangements with Verizon for subsidized tablet pricing in exchange for customer data contracts, although later rumors were relatively silent on the possibility. The only announced carrier offering for the iPad so far comes from AT&T in the United States, which will offer contract-free monthly 3G access plans for $14.99 (250 MB) and $29.99 (unlimited).