Thursday, 11 March 2010

Mobile Networks Competing for Apple iPad Exclusivity

When Apple launched their latest device, the iPad many were quick to mock. The name and the size of the device seemed comical to most of us and yet interest in the iPad is high and it will no doubt sell like hot cakes. Suddenly people are looking down at their iPhones and iPods and deciding that they are lacking in size, what they really need is some kind of tablet device in a sleek black case without a removable battery.

The cheaper iPad models will, like the iPod touch, only connect to the internet via a Wifi connection. The higher end models will connect via 3G and will therefore require a contract iPad SIM card and a data contract. This has lead to a lot of interest from some of the UKs biggest mobile phone providers who want to sell the iPad. Apple executives are apparently in the country currently meeting with representatives from O2, Orange and Vodafone in order to decide who will be in on the launch.

It is not yet clear if any of the providers will have exclusive dibs on the iPad, although they would no doubt be more than happy to sign an exclusive deal. It is more likely that Apple will choose several of the big suppliers in order to maximize exposure and create competition. With Apple likely to take up to 30% of data revenues (as they do with the iPhone) the margins will be slim but the potential exposure will be great.

Whilst the interest in the iPad was inevitable (chuck an Apple logo on anything and it'll sell) it seems to be an indication of where things are headed. There appears to be a split in the mobile devices available between smart phones/ mobile computers and more basic pay as you go type phones. Most providers now offer free SIM card at one end of the spectrum and very high tech devices at the other end.

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