AT&T and Verizon Wireless have each announced that they will begin offering the iPad in their stores beginning on October 28. AT&T will offer all three models of the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G at its more than 2,200 stores, while Verizon Wireless will offer the three iPad Wi-Fi models bundled with a Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot for the same prices as the equivalent iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models: $629 for 16GB units, $729 for 32GB models, and $829 for 64GB devices, making the relative price of the MiFi $130. The MiFi 2200 is a portable, battery-powered hotspot that uses Verizon’s 3G cellular network to broadcast a Wi-Fi signal to up to five devices, including the Wi-Fi-only iPad, as well as the iPod touch and computers, eliminating the need for devices to have built-in cellular data hardware.
Verizon’s pricing for the bundle compares favorably with its listed retail MiFi price of $270, though the MiFi costs more than it would with a two-year Verizon contract; it is being offered for free after a $100 online discount. However, Verizon will offer a monthly access plan for iPad customers of up to 1GB of data for $20 a month—half the price and quadruple the data of the company’s traditional 250MB for $40/month MiFi offering—yet will provide iPad service on a month-to-month, no contract basis, a sign that a major deal was struck with Apple to improve upon its expensive current data plans to attract iPad customers, and possibly future iPhone customers, as well. Verizon will also offer the iPad in its stores on a standalone, un-bundled basis. “This is the perfect pairing for holiday travels,” said John Stratton, chief operating officer for Verizon Wireless. “iPad together with the nation’s largest and most reliable 3G data network allows customers to easily connect on the go wherever they are.”