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Verizon to sell Apple iPad, but iPhone still in question

Verizon Wireless announced Thursday that it will begin selling Apple's iPad at its retail stores Oct. 28, in a move sure to stoke speculation that the new partnership could pave the way for an iPhone for eager Verizon customers.

A Verizon Wireless spokesman declined to comment on whether an iPhone partnership is in the offing.

But that speculation should be dampened somewhat because the iPad isn't being sold to run on Verizon's 3G network. It will be bundled with Verizon's MiFi mobile hotspot modem. AT&T also announced it would begin selling the iPad tablet at its retail stores, adding to a line of retailers who have announced sales of the device.

Lawmakers and consumer advocacy groups have long criticized the exclusive deals struck between carriers and device makers, saying they push users into long-term contracts with carriers they don't prefer. Competitors such as rural carrier Cellular South argue that only the biggest wireless carriers have the scale to strike deals for the newest and hottest gadgets, leaving smaller competitors behind.

The Federal Communications Commission has launched an inquiry into wireless industry practices that include exclusive handset deals. But it hasn't indicated that it will the issue further.

Though the iPad sold out quickly when it was aunched last spring, the stubborn economic recession has pushed Apple to get it into as many retail outlets as possible before the holiday season.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Verizon Wireless to get iPad into the hands of even more customers this holiday season,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer, in a release.

Walmart and Target have also announced they will sell the iPad; Walmart said Thursday that it would take pre-orders of the tablet.

At Verizon, customers can get the iPad with the hot spot bundle for $629.99 for the 16GB model and $729.99 for the 32GB model and $829.99 for the 64GB model. Verizon, which will sell it at 2,000 retail stores, said it can also be bought without the MiFi hotspot technology.

By Cecilia Kang  | October 14, 2010; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  AT&T, Apple, FCC, Verizon  
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Comments

The Verizon bundle is good for people just now buying an iPad Wi-Fi because they get the MiFi device half-off its normal price. But, Virgin Mobile and Clear offer just as good, or better, deals for people who already own iPads.

Posted by: query0 | October 15, 2010 5:01 AM | Report abuse

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