A week after making the full-size 4G version of the iPad available on contract, Australia's carriers are also selling the iPad Mini as a contract device. What will you pay and is it worth it?
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Carriers are selling the 3G-enabled version of the iPad Mini. If you buy this outright from Apple, this costs $509 for the 16GB model, $619 for 32GB, or $739 for 64Gb. The same point we made about the full-sized iPad applies here: buying on contract only makes sense if you can't afford the device outright and will regularly use the data allocation. For most people, a prepaid SIM option will make more sense and cost less.
In the table below, we've listed the contract options available for the iPad Mini models listed on each provider's web site, including the monthly charge for the plan and for tablet repayments, the total cost, and how much data you get each month. On all carriers, your data allocation resets every month; contracts run for 24 months. (As I write this, stocks of the 64GB model don't seem available from anyone, and Vodafone doesn't even list pricing for it.)
You can click on the column headings to sort and filter, so you can look only at plans for 32GB models or sort everything in order of total price. We've included brief notes on each provider below the table.
Optus' plans apply a consistent handset charge for each model regardless of which plan you sign up for. Plans come in five sizes: 2GB, 5GB, 10GB, 15GB and 20GB (the last being bigger than any of its rivals). If you exceed the allocated data, excess is charged at 2 cents per MB.
Telstra doesn't separate out its hardware charges and plan charges on its site, quoting a single sum. Plans come in four sizes: 1GB, 4GB, 8GB or 15GB. Telstra's plans are the most expensive on the market, and excess data is charged at 10 cents per MB.
Vodafone offers five plans: 2GB, 6GB, 12GB, 14GB and 18GB. Excess data is charged at 2 cents per MB.
Lifehacker's Planhacker column rounds up the best communication deals.