iPad 2 cheaper at AT&T than Verizon

AT&T and Verizon Thursday announced their prices for iPad 2 models and their 3G data plans. At least one thing is clear at the start: the tablet computer price tag is $100 cheaper at AT&T.

The iPad data plans from both carriers are capped, so you're paying a monthly fee for a set amount of data. Both offer monthly billing, without a service contract.

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AT&T is sweetening the deal a bit more by offering "for a limited time" one month of free data use for subscribers who opt for the carrier's $25 plan, for 2GB.

Here's the comparison:

iPad pricing (all models come with Wi-Fi and 3G):

iPad models     AT&T     Verizon

16 GB             $529         $629.99

32 GB             $629         $729.99

64 GB             $729         $829.99

Apple's online store lists the same models, for AT&T and Verizon, with the higher prices: $629, $729 and $829.

Comparison of the data plans is a bit trickier.

AT&T has two iPad plans:

$14.99 per month, for 250MB (if you go over, you're charged the same amount for up to the same amount of additional data)

$25 per month, for 2GB (if you go over, it's $10 for each additional 1GB)

IPad 2 with iOS 4.3 lets you create a personal hotspot, so up to three Wi-Fi devices can connect to the tablet and share its cellular data link. This is an option with AT&T, for those choosing the $25 data plan. You pay a "tethering fee" of $20 per month, and that fee also gives you 2GB more of data per month, so a "third" iPad data plans is:

4GB for $45.

Verizon has four monthly plans for the iPad:

$20 for 1GB

$35 for 3GB

$50 for 5GB

$80 for 10GB

If you're already a subscriber to either carrier, these prices are separate from any data plan you might currently have for a cell phone.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww

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