There is no shortage of fraudulent schemes on the Internet promising unsuspecting consumers free iPads. Most of these usually don’t end well for the consumer and many involve some form of identity theft. Although we recommend our readers stay vigilant when an offer sounds too good to be true, we’ve actually found someone who is legitimately giving iPads away for free. Well, sort of.
According to mocoNews, Japanese wireless carrier SoftBank is offering an “iPad for Everybody” promotion (translated) which includes a 16GB iPad for free. What’s the catch you might ask? Well, you have to signup for a two-year data plan contract to qualify for the offer and the data plans run about $56 dollars per month. So, if you do the math, that adds up to $1,344 for a two year contract with SoftBank. The deal isn’t a bad offer but we still have it slightly better here in the US. A 16GB iPad runs $629 and if you add 24 months of AT&T service you’d spend a total of $1,229 saving a little more than a hundred dollars over two years.
It’s not unusual for wireless carriers to subsidize the cost of smartphones and help reduce the initial entry price a customer faces when purchasing the latest high-tech gadget, which can easily run more than $500. The subsidies attract new customers and provide a mechanism for carriers to lock subscribers into longer term contracts helping to reduce their network churn.
Although no US carrier currently subsidizes the iPad, we expect many will follow in the footsteps of carriers like SoftBank and Orange, who either partially or completely subsidize the iPad’s cost as a way of attracting more customers to their network.