Price conscious UK consumers are already grappling with declining public services and public sector jobs and a huge climb in VAT — perhaps that’s why Orange sold just 1,000 iPads in the first week the products went on sale via the carrier in the UK.

As has been widely-reported, Orange is one of the first UK networks to offer the 3G/Wi-Fi iPad at a subsidized price in the UK to customers signing-up for a 24-month service contract. The subsidy means you can get an iPad for just £199, so long as consumers agree to a £25/month contract.

Orange had hoped to sell “tens of thousands” of the tablets, according to The Times, instead it sold just 1,000 in the first week, according to the Murdoch press.

Orange told The Times:

“As expected, our iPad sales have grown significantly week-on-week in the run up to Christmas as awareness that we were ranging the product increased, and it remains one of the key devices in our portfolio for the seasonal period.”

The 1,000 sales figure has not been confirmed by Orange. The company later observed that iPad sales climbed significantly in the run-up to Christmas.

It is not known how many subsidized iPads were sold by T-Mobile or Three. Orange, T-Mobile and Three all launched subsidised iPad offerings in December to capitalize on the expected holiday tablet rush.

According to market research firm Context, in November, 80 per cent of all the iPads sold in the UK were the 3G-enabled version.

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