Orange, T-Mobile, 3 to subsidise cost of Apple's iPad

Mobile phone network providers , and are offering new purchase options for Apple iPad users, including what the companies will insist are more affordable prices when purchased with a data service plan.

Orange and likely T-Mobile will charge £199 up-front for a new 16GB iPad in return for new and existing customers signing up to a 24-month 3G contact, which offers 1GB of data plus another 1GB of 'quiet time' data use after midnight for £27 per month.

Customers will be able to upgrade to the 32GB iPad by paying £249, while £349 gets you the 64GB iPad.

3 have announced similar plans "in the coming months" but have yet to give details of monthly pricing and data plans or up-front charges.

are also rumoured to be offering iPad monthly data service plans, although the provider on Friday dismissed those reports as speculation.

meanwhile said they had no immediate plans to offer subsidised iPads to customers.