ATandT Ubiquity Remains Major Advantage

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-10-18 Print this article Print


5. There is still no Apple-Verizon commitment 

At this point, consumers have no idea if the Verizon iPad is simply a one-off agreement between the companies that will go nowhere or the start of something major between the firms. Until folks know that, it's tough to bet on the Verizon iPad. Not only is the device hobbled compared with AT&T's offering, but who knows what support for it will look like going forward? If the iPad will be a person's long-term mobile companion, sticking with the company Apple works closely with now is probably the best bet. 

6. Thinking about the person on a budget 

Verizon has come up with some rather interesting data plans with its iPad. Rather than offer 250MB of data for $15 and 2GB of data for $29, like AT&T has, the company will offer a $20 plan for 1GB of data, as well as a $35 and $50 plan for 3GB and 5GB, respectively. That's great for corporate customers. But for folks on a budget or those who won't use as much 3G data, paying as little as $5 more a month or up to $35 more a month just doesn't make that much sense. People on a budget would probably do best with AT&T's data plans. 

7. It's what Steve Jobs wants 

Steve Jobs must come into play with the customer's iPad buying decision. At AT&T, customers will pay the same amount of cash to get an iPad as they would to get an iPad and MiFi hotspot at Verizon. But there is one major difference: AT&T is offering the iPad 3G, while Verizon is selling the WiFi-only iPad. In other words, Apple could be getting more from the sale of the iPad at AT&T than at Verizon, since the 3G model is $130 more expensive than a WiFi-only version with the same capacity hard drive. If Apple is generating more revenue from AT&T than Verizon, Steve Jobs will focus more of his efforts there. And that alone could be enough to draw customers away from Verizon's service. 

8. Sheer availability 

Availability could play a role in why AT&T should win out over Verizon. At any retail outlet, including an Apple Store, Target or elsewhere, consumers can get their hands on an iPad 3G and connect to AT&T's network. The only way they can access Verizon's network is if they buy the device at a Verizon store. That is a major barrier to entry for Verizon and its customers. And for simplicity's sake, it just might be easier to go with Verizon's service because of it. 

9. Planning for the future

Who knows what Apple's future iPad strategy will look like? It's possible that the company will provide better software for the iPad 3G. It's also possible that it will stop selling the WiFi-only model at some point in the future. As Apple has proven with its previous updates to the iPhone, it won't support every model of every device indefinitely. The savvy shopper will invest in the more capable product to hedge against those decisions. That can only mean investing in AT&T's iPad 3G. 

10. How committed will Verizon be?

There is a real question right now over whether or not Verizon will truly promote and support Apple's iPad as much as it would with a similarly compelling product from an Android vendor. Inevitably, that will depend on how closely Apple and Verizon plan to work together. But if Verizon isn't as committed to seeing the iPad succeed as it should be, it might be enough to push customers toward AT&T and away from the largest U.S. carrier.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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