Not to be out-done by Rogers, Telus and Bell both confirmed this morning that they would be offering data plans for the iPad 2. Their e-mails didn’t say anything about selling the device itself, so I can only assume that Apple is twisting both of their arms and getting users out of three-year contracts just like they did for the original iPad. Looking back at the Rogers announcement, they don’t say anything about offering the iPad 2 subsidized on contract either, so probably the same deal there. Currently, Telus offers 500 MB/month for $20 for the original iPad, while Bell asks for $15 for 250 MB and $35 for 5 GB, matching exactly what Rogers is offering.
Although I’m all for breaking free of the shackles of contracts, when it comes to tablets which can cost upwards of $800, I imagine subsidies would be welcome by most buyers. One could see how carrier logistics could get tricky when it comes to extending existing contracts for a subsidized tablet, since a it’s usually a secondary device that shares data with a smartphone, but it’s not impossible – Orange subsidized the iPad in the UK without any problems, and competing tablets like the Motorola Xoom have an on-contract option.
There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not the iPad 2 will be carrier locked or not lately, but seeing as Apple already has a strong retail pipeline of its own, I could see them just wanting to sell the thing outright and only factor in carriers for the SIM cards. I can’t help but wonder if Apple will reclaim ownership of the iPhone and sell it in the same way down the line.
What do you guys think – is the retail strategy Apple is taking with the iPad 2 the best way to go about selling it?