Local network launches data plan for iPad

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A Vietnamese wireless operator, Vinaphone, has launched the first-ever data service in Vietnam for the iPad, a popular tablet-shaped computer produced by Apple Inc.

The 3G data plans, which became available on Tuesday, start from VND35,000 per month for one gigabyte a month, Vinaphone said in a statement.

Vinaphone called the launch of the new service "a new step forward in the cooperation between Apple and Vinaphone in Vietnam."

The iPad has become a big hit for Apple since it was first introduced in April this year. According to Citigroup's estimates, 35 million tablet PCs will be sold worldwide next year and about 26 million of them will be the iPad.

Not long after the international launch, local phone and electronics shops in Vietnam started selling the tablet, at much higher prices than those listed on the Apple website.

Apple has over 300 retail stores worldwide but it has not opened one in Vietnam. The company, however, sells the iPad to Vietnamese customers online.

Lao Dong newspaper on Tuesday cited a source as saying Vinaphone also plans to distribute the tablet officially in Vietnam. The network and military-run Viettel are the nation's two official distributors of Apple's iPhones.

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