Sprint (S) has announced it’ll start offering Samsung’s Galaxy Tab on November 14, leaving Verizon as the first carrier to offer the tab on November 11, but giving costumers a lot more options as far as price.
Galaxy has the same hardware regardless of where it’s purchased – the difference comes in the mobile data plans offered by the two companies for the seven-inch tablet computer. At Verizon (VZ), the plan is pay-as-you-go; with Sprint, a two-year contract knocks $200 off the price, lowering it to $399. Customers can start preordering Galaxy with Sprint today.
It seems Sprint isn’t offering a contract-free price for Galaxy, and customers will have access to two possible plans: 2GB of data per month at $29.99, or 5GB per month at $59.99, and both plans include unlimited messaging from the tab as well. Meanwhile, Verizon’s month-to-month plan is for 1GB per month for $20.
Tether away with Sprint
In addition to the standard data plan, Sprint customers can also pay for some extra services. Another $29.99 a month enables the Galaxy to tether other devices and work as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, although it seems the same two data plans apply under that scenario – you don’t get more data if you pay for tethering.
If you decide to go for a Galaxy at Sprint, it’ll run you a total cost of at least about $759 for the first year with the cheapest data plan. Verizon’s Galaxy goes for a base price of $599 and another $240 for a year of service – so it’s actually about $839 for the first year, although with Sprint you’ll be shackled into a second year of service for a total of about $360.
Costs will add up over time
For comparison purposes, you could also take a look at Apple’s (AAPL) iPad costs: the cheapest iPad starts at $499, and if you get it at Verizon, it comes with its MiFi mobile hotspot, bumping the price of the whole bundle up to $630. That same 1GB Verizon plan kicks the whole thing up to $870 for the first year, and keep in mind that’s only the 16GB iPad. A 3G-enabled 16GB iPad through AT&T (T) goes for $630, with a 250MB data plan for $15 or 2GB for $25. At its cheapest, a year with a 3G iPad costs you $819, but with a data plan comparable to Sprint’s cheapest, the price is really $930.
After all those confusing numbers, the most important thing is that Galaxy with Sprint is the cheapest option for a tab with the 2GB data plan, if you don’t mind being stuck with a second year of its service. That, of course, doesn’t take into account a lot of other factors – like screen size, operating system, other hardware concerns and freedom to switch service providers. But when you break down the cost, even if it’s a couple of days late to the Galaxy party, Sprint should be a contender.