Basking Ridge, N.J. - Apple will begin selling versions of its iPad through Verizon Wireless-owned stores and AT&T-owned stores beginning Oct. 28.
In a deal that could foreshadow the launch of an iPhone for the Verizon Wireless network, Verizon will bundle the three Wi-Fi versions of the iPad with a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. The carrier will also offer each iPad without a bundled hot spot. The products will be available through the carrier's more than 2,000 stores.
The distribution deals do not extend to the carriers' authorized agents and other retailers that sell Verizon and AT&T service, the carriers told TWICE. Nonetheless, Walmart recently announced
to begin selling all iPad versions beginning Oct. 15 in hundreds of Walmart locations, expanding sales to more than 2,300 stores by mid-November. Target began carrying the iPad earlier this month, and Best Buy has offered it since the device's April launch.
For its part, Sam's Club confirmed it will sell both the iPad and iPhone "soon" in select locations in time for the holidays.
For its part, AT&T will offer the two iPad versions equipped with Wi-Fi and its 3G service through its 2,200 stores.
Under the Verizon deal, Verizon priced its iPad bundles at $629 for the iPad Wi-Fi 16GB with Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot, $729 for the iPad Wi-Fi 32GB with MiFi, and $829 for the iPad Wi-Fi 64GB with MiFi. The unbundled iPad prices are the same prices at which other distribution channels offer the Wi-Fi models: $499 for the 16GB version, $599 for 32GB, and $699 for 64GB.
For the bundles, Verizon will offer a MiFi monthly access plan at $20/month for up to 1GB of data for just $20 a month. The MiFi 2200, which fits in a pocket, connects up to five Wi-Fi devices to the Internet via Verizon's 3G network. Its rechargeable battery provides up to four hours of active use and 40 hours of standby time on a single charge.
Through its own 2,200 stores, AT&T will offer all three iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models with prepaid 3G data plans, which include unlimited access to AT&T's 23,000+ domestic Wi-Fi Hot Spots. The iPads are priced the same as they are through other channels: a suggested $629 for the 16GB model, $729 for the 32GB model, and $829 for 64GB. Domestic data plans for the iPads are priced at $14.99 per month for 250MB and $25 per month for 2GB with no term contract.
The iPad is one of two tablets that Verizon and AT&T said they plan to sell. The other is the Android-based Samsung Galaxy Tab, which is due this year from all four major carriers. The device is equipped with Wi-Fi, 3G data, and ability to place standard cellular voice calls via built-in speakerphone or Bluetooth headset.