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11/16/2010
12:03 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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On Tablets And Tablet Data Plans

Pricing schemes for tablets have quickly become as complicated as pricing for mobile phones. Here's a quick primer on the current landscape and how the total cost of ownership breaks down.

Sprint

Sprint offers the Samsung Galaxy Tab for $600 with no contract or for $400 with a contract. TCO of the Tab with Sprint can be as low as $600 assuming you rely on free Wi-Fi for 24 months.

As for data plans, Sprint is charging $30 for 1MB per month or $60 for 5GB per month. Those prices require contracts, and allow consumers to purchase the Tab at the subsidized sale price. Breaking out the calculator, that means TCO over two years is $1120 ($400 + 24x$30) or a whopping $1840 ($400 + 24x$60) if you choose the 5GB plan. Ouch!

Sprint doesn't offer the iPad directly. However, users may opt to buy a Wi-Fi only version of the iPad and use it with one of Sprint's mobile hotspot devices.

T-Mobile

Like Sprint, T-Mobile is offering the Tab unsubsidized and subsidized at the $600 and $400 price points, respectively. TCO of the Tab with T-Mobile can be as little as $600 assuming you rely on free Wi-Fi for 24 months.

As for data plans, T-Mobile is charging $25 for 200MB per month or $40 for 5GB per month. Those prices require contracts, and allow consumers to purchase the Tab at the subsidized sale price. Breaking out the calculator, that means the TCO over two years is $1000 ($400 + 24x$25) or a more painful $1460 ($400 + 24x$40) if you choose the 5GB plan.

T-Mobile doesn't offer the iPad, and it doesn't offer a hotspot creating device, either. T-Mobile customers could opt to purchase a Wi-Fi only iPad, and then use it with select T-Mobile smartphones that allow for Wi-Fi tethering.

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