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Monday, November 29, 2010, 11:05 pm PT (02:05 am ET)

Softbank to offer fully subsidized iPad in Japan with 25-month contract

Japanese carrier Softbank will begin offering the 16GB iPad 3G for free when customers sign up for a 25 month, $56 a month contract, a new report claims.

Softbank's subsidy would contain no hidden costs that spread the cost of the iPad over the term of the contract. The customer will need only sign a 2 year contract for $56 a month in order to receive a free 16GB iPad 3G, mocoNews reports.

As the sole distributor of the iPhone in Japan, Softbank has enjoyed the tremendous success of the device. In April, Tokyo's MM Research Institute Ltd. issued a report revealing that Apple captured a massive 72 percent of the Japanese smartphone market for the fiscal year ending March 31.

Japan recently saw the launch of the new cloud-centric Apple TV and the iTunes Movie Store. Major international and top Japanese studios, such as Asmik Ace Entertainment Inc., Fuji TV, Kadakowa Pictures, Nikkatsu, Shochiku Company Limited and Toei Company Limited, are offering their movies on iTunes.

Apple appears to be allowing heavy iPad subsidies in regions where its iAd program is preparing to launch. The Cupertino, Calif., company announced earlier this month that it will expand iAds into Japan early next year with the help of Japanese advertising partner Dentsu.

iAd will also launch in Europe in December. The launch has attracted the attention of European and global brands alike, including L'Oréal, Renault, Louis Vuitton, Nespresso, Perrier, Unilever, Citi, Evian, LG Display, AB InBev, Turkish Airlines and Absolute Radio.

"We're thrilled to add leading global brands to the iAd Network in Europe and create even more great opportunities for developers," said Andy Miller, Apple's vice president of iAd, when announcing the expansion into Europe. "In just four months, we’ve doubled the number of advertisers on the network and thousands of developers now have a valuable new source of revenue."

Shortly after Apple's announcement that it will bring iAd to Europe, Orange UK revealed its plan to sell the iPad 3G at a discounted price with a 3G data plan.