Vodafone prepping subsdised iPad 3G on contract?

While Apple has positioned the 3G iPad as a device for the prepaid wireless broadband market there are signs that Vodafone may offer the touchscreen tablet subsidised by a contract plan in order to lower its up-front cost.

Edward Goff VHA’s general manger for voice and broadband told APC that VHA was in discussions with Apple on plans for the Australian launch of the iPad in late April.

“We’re still working out with Apple how we might look to launch the iPad” Goff said. Asked to confirm that VHA was working on pre-paid wireless broadband plans for the iPad Goff was more reluctant saying only that “we are talking to Apple and we’ll see where we end up.”

Given the high price of the 3G iPad – which our initial
indicate will begin at $819 for a model with 16GB of storage $949 for 32GB and a
challenging $1099 for the flagship 64GB  model – this raises the possibility that VHA will follow the iPhone playbook and offer the 3G iPad under a contract with a low-up front cost to spur demand.

The smartest move would be for VHA or indeed any carrier to put both pre-paid and contract plans on the menu.

The pre-paid model would suit those who are happy to stump up the full retail cost and then choose their own 3G plan (and likely taking to the carrier’s standard SIM card with a Stanley Knife to tim it to fit the iPad’s microSIM slot).

At the same time a 3G iPad offered under a 12-month or 24-month contract with a much lower up-front cost would have substantial appeal to the mainstream buyers.