3UK will be selling the iPad 2 alongside Orange and T-Mobile, most likely with competitive data bundles
3UK has confirmed it will be selling Apple’s iPad 2 with dedicated data plans as soon as the tablet enters the UK on 25 March 2011.
The actual pricing details for Apple’s latest gadget remain unknown. “We haven’t released any information on our tariffs as yet,” a 3 spokesperson told eWEEK Europe UK.
According to reports, however, the company is working on data bundles ‘specifically designed for the iPad 2’. It might also offer discounted prices for the Apple tablet with subscription, as it has done with the original model.
In light of 3’s recently announced “all-you-can-eat data” promotion for pay-as-you-go smartphone customers, speculations are surrounding a similar data plan for the forthcoming tablet.
Orange and T-Mobile stocking up iPad 2
Prior to 3’s announcement, Everything Everywhere – the combined entity of Orange and T-Mobile – confirmed they would be stocking Apple’s second-generation tablet for the UK rollout.
“NEWS: Everything Everywhere (Orange & T-Mobile) will be selling the iPad 2 in the UK once it’s made available later this month! Hurrah!” tweeted Conor Maples, digital PR manager for Everything Everywhere.
While three operators are preparing their store shelves for the iPad 2, O2 said it would not be selling the tablet but would still provide UK customers with “competitive data bundles”.
“We continue to offer great value, flexible data tariffs for iPad 2 and the unique ability to manage these tariffs on the device itself,” said O2 in a statement.
According to Apple, the iPad 2 will come with iOS 4.3, the latest version of its operating system, and sport front and rear cameras for taking pictures and video callings. The device offers nine times more graphical power than its predecessor and features a 33 per cent thinner chassis.
Tablet-specific roaming tariffs needed
Meanwhile, given the wide adoption of tablets, over 10 percent of corporate users are expected to be using the device within the next three years, according to a survey by research firm YouGov and MACH, which interviewed 101 key telecoms decision makers within enterprises.
Sixty-two percent of respondents believed the trend could pose a serious problem for their business, due to the high costs of data roaming abroad.
“The majority of roaming tariffs were originally designed for basic feature phones which did not consume much data. It is clear that this model simply does not hold for the new age of international data roaming that tablets and smartphones are ushering in,” said Lokdeep Singh, technology and innovation VP at MACH.
Moreover, tablets are continually updating information. According to the survey, this can lead to IT departments facing much higher bills than expected for roaming sessions.
“If businesses are to reap the benefits of their staff using tablet devices when abroad, the very structure of roaming agreements between operators needs to change and operators need to introduce simplified, tiered pricing targeted at the tablet user segment,” added Singh.