Planhacker: iPad 2 Contract Deals Compared

Optus has started selling the iPad 2 on contract today, joining Telstra and Vodafone in offering Apple’s popular tablet without requiring an up-front payment. How do the offers compare? Planhacker rounds up every deal out there.

Picture by Pedro Antunes

If you don’t want a long-term commitment, Apple’s prices for a 3G-equipped iPad 2 are $729 for the 16GB version, $839 for the 32GB model and $949 for the 64Gb deal.

Buying on contract from a telco has two potential advantages: less money up-front, and a built-in data allowance for using your iPad 2 when you’re out of Wi-Fi range, using the supplied 3G micro-SIM. While buying through a carrier wasn’t available when the iPad 2 launched in March, it’s now become a realistic way to purchase the tablet.

In the table below, we’ve detailed the plan costs and total costs of ownership for the consumer iPad 2 plans from each Australian provider, along with the data allowance. You can sort and filter the table by clicking on the column headers, so that you can (for instance) see plans in order of data allowance or total overall cost.

Some details to note: Optus discounts the handset payments over the life of the contract, but if you cancel before the 24 months is up, you’ll have to pay out the contract at a higher rate. Vodafone has both 12 and 24 month contracts, but you have to pay a partial up-front fee on the 12-month contracts/Optus and Telstra only offer 24-month contracts. That said, Vodafone still has the worst reputation for network performance, and doesn’t offer the 32GB model.

Which option will suit you will depend to a fair extent on your usage patterns. Paying for a high data allowance only makes sense if you’ll regularly use the device on the road. At home or the office, you’re likely to use Wi-Fi. If you don’t have a clear idea of your needs, an outright buy and a prepaid data plan might be more sensible.

If you do buy on a contract, check the outright price carefully: in some cases you can get much more data for not much more money. Optus’ 4GB a month deal for a 32Gb iPad is only marginally more than its 2GB a month deal, for instance.

For full details of each provider’s plans, hit the links below:

Which plans grab you? Tell us in the comments.

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