Rewards For Those Who Wait? BestBuy iPad Bundle

Over at 9-to-5 Mac, Mark Gurman reports that BestBuy is bundling the iPad with mobile hotspot hardware. The catch? A two-year contract with either Verizon, AT&T or Sprint. Clear and Virgin not part of the deal for obvious reasons when you look at their non-promo service plans.

According to ThinkMobile, the MiFi is not locked to the iPad (reportedly it is with Verizon) in this short-lived promo (ends January 2, 2011).

The base model iPad (16GB, wifi) is $499; to bump up to 3G service, add $130. That’s basically the retail cost of the MiFi unit. Who’s really subsidizing this bundle?

Vendor Service Hardware
AT&T Month-to-month 3G:
250MB/$15 and 2GB/$25
MiFi 2372
$300 no commitment or $150 w/2yr contract
Verizon Month-to-month 3G iPad promo:
1GB/$20; 3GB/$35; 5GB/$50; 10GB/$80
MiFi 2200 – $130
Sprint Unclear if month-to-month or annual contract
5GB on 3G network + 300MB off/$60

 

Overdrive 3G/4G hotspot: $350 or $50 w/2yr contract
MiFi 2200 not sold in my zip code
Clear Month-to-month 4G (6Mbps/1Mbps)
Unlimited/$25
iSpot: $99 (connect up to 8 Apple products)
Virgin Month-to-month 3G: Unlimited/$40
10 days : 100MB/$10
(service provided by Sprint)
MiFi 2200 – $130

If this hardware wasn’t tied to the network, it would be cheaper (ie, there would be more competition) — same thing with phones. We need a market for mobile hardware that is not locked to a network. You know, like the rest of the world.

Let me remind you that 3G service is not particularly fast. (On my iPhone, it’s often excruciatingly slow.)

So we really need a national policy for ubiquitous and affordable wifi.

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