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Optus won't subsidise Apple's iPad

Optus won't subsidise Apple's 3G iPad tablet-like device when it arrives late May in Australia, according to a source close to the company.

Optus won't subsidise Apple's 3G iPad tablet-like device when it arrives late May in Australia, according to a source close to the company.

It's not known whether Optus plans to stock the device, but it has, along with Telstra and Vodafone, confirmed that it will offer dedicated plans for the iPad.

If the telco was to subsidise the purchase of the iPad, it would offer an arrangement whereby the customer is locked into a data plan with a set monthly price in return for paying less for the device. Without the subsidy, a customer will need to pay for the device upfront (from an Apple store if Optus isn't going to stock the device) and choose a plan for it.

Optus declined to comment on iPad subsidies. "We recently confirmed that we will offer plans for all 3G-enabled iPad models from the end of May. We have no further comment at this time," the company said in a statement.

In February, Gartner research director of mobile and wireless, Robin Simpson, said he thought telcos may have a hard time selling the device in Australia if it wasn't subsidised.

"If they start subsidising it and selling it like other phones ... I think people will definitely go for it. But if people have to buy it outright and then get a data plan with it then that's probably where you'll find it might struggle a bit more," he said at the time.

Optus has had extreme success with Apple products in the past. Only a week after Apple's iPhone launch, the company's director of government and corporate affairs Maha Krishnapillai was boasting of how high take-up has been.

"We're very happy with the result for Optus — we think we've captured by far the lion's share of the iPhone sales because we do have the best pricing models," he said at the time. ZDNet Australia understands that Optus is on the cusp of selling its one millionth iPhone, which would mean that almost 5 per cent of Australians have an Optus iPhone.