Both Optus and Telstra have today announced their contract prices for Apple's iPad mini with WiFi and Cellular (which is tech-speak for being able to connect to 3G and 4G for Internet).
One option is to go direct and buy your iPad mini outright from Apple and then find a suitable data-only plan from your preferred carrier.
However, as we have discussed before there are pros and cons when considering whether to go on a plan or outright
If you're buying your iPad mini from Telstra or Optus on a plan, how do the plans compare?
iPad mini through Telstra
Telstra offers four different data plans for the iPad mini with WiFi and Cellular.
For a 16GB iPad mini the small plan costs $41 per month and includes the iPad mini and 1GB of data.
$46 bumps that up to 4GB of data
$61 per month gets you 8GB
For the really data hungry $96 per month delivers 15GB of data
If you're after a 32GB iPad mini then add $5 per month to each of those plans.
An extra $4 per month gets you up to a 64GB unit.
All of those deals assume a 24 month contract.
iPad mini through Optus
In contrast, Optus offers five different options when it comes to data allowances. Conveniently, they have split out the data and device payment components in their packages.
All of these assume a 24 month contract
The five data plans are:
2GB for $19.95 per month
5GB for $2495 per month
10GB for $34.95 per month
15Gb for $54.95 per month
20GB for $74.95 per month
Then you need to add a monthly repayment for the iPad mini you choose.
16GB iPad mini with WiFi and Cellular is $21.05 per month
32GB iPad mini with WiFi and Cellular is $26.05 per month
64GB iPad mini with WiFi and Cellular is $30.05 per month
All of those device repayments are almost identical to the full cost of the same iPad mini if you bought it outright.
Which do you choose?
If you compare like for like packages, then Optus offers cheaper bundles. For example, a 64GB iPad mini with 10GB of data per month costs $101 per month with Telstra and $65 per month with Optus.
If you're after a 64GB iPad mini and the most data possible, Optus offers 20GB for $101 per month whereas Telstra's deal delivers 15GB.
At the entry level, Optus provides a 32GB iPad with 2GB for $47 whereas Telstra's offer of $46 comes with half as much data. If that is reduced to a 16GB iPad mini then the costs are the same but Optus offers 2GB of data to Telstra's 1GB.
In other words, if you're buying purely on cost, Optus delivers lower pricing.
However, Telstra's data network is more extensive that Optus'. If you work in rural areas then it's likely that Telstra will be the only carrier providing coverage. So, if coverage is key, Telstra's deals may be a better bet.
Choosing the right model
When you're choosing an iPad mini, there are twelve models to choose from. The first point of differentiation is colour - there are black/slate and white/silver to choose from.
For each colour, you can then choose from three different storage capacities; 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.
And then you can choose from whether you want a WiFi only model, that can only connect to the Internet from a wireless network, or a WiFi and Cellular model that can use the 3G or 4G network of you preferred carrier.
If you plan to store videos, photos and lots of documents 32GB is really the minimum we'd suggest and if your budget can stretch the extra $90 then 64GB will give you plenty of headroom.
If you need to use your iPad mini when you're out of the office then the WiFi and Cellular models are probably where you're going to be looking.
However, if you have access to WiFi or use a mobile 4G hotspot
then a WiFi only model will save you about $140 on the hardware. then you'll need to factor in the cost of data.