Telcos reveal new broadband offers for the iPad 2

 

Improved 3G coverage sparks Optus, Vodafone deals.

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Optus and Vodafone have unveiled new ‘starter packs’ in preparation for the iPad 2’s Australian debut this afternoon.

The device was released to US customers a fortnight ago with a base model price of US$499 ($488). The same 16GB WiFi model will be sold in Australia for $579.

Although only Telstra was able to provide regional 3G connectivity to original iPad users via its UMTS 850 MHz Next G network, Apple introduced UMTS 900 MHz support in the iPad 2.

This allowed it to operate on Optus and Vodafone’s dual band networks, increasing 3G coverage from 80 to 97 percent of the population for Optus and 94 percent for Vodafone.

Vodafone has introduced a $15 pre-paid starter pack that included a micro-SIM card, 1.5GB of data, and a 30-day expiry.

Optus introduced a $0 SIM starter kit with 500MB and 20-day validity in a bid for new customers at Harvey Norman, Dick Smith, Apple, David Jones and Myer stores.

For a “limited time”, it was also offering its $30, 3GB pre-paid starter kit at half-price in “some sales channels”, including Optus stores, Allphones, Telechoice and Network Comms.

Online customers paid full price on Optus' website.

Telstra’s pricing remained unchanged in the face of mounting hype for the second-generation device, with pre-paid starter kits priced at $30 for 3GB with 30 days validity.

The iPad 2 with Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity will cost $729 for the 16GB model, $839 for 32GB and $949 for the 64GB model.

According to newspaper reports, some Apple enthusiasts have waited outside its Sydney CBD store for two days ahead of today’s 5pm launch.

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