AT&T announced Thursday that it, too, would be selling iPads at its fleet of retail stores in the U.S. beginning October 28th, joining Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and its arch-rival Verizon. Apple has long offered the iPad with built-in 3G support that works only with AT&T in the U.S. market, but this marks the first time Apple’s iOS U.S. partner can actually sell the device.
AT&T will be offering iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models in all three capacities (16GB, 32GB, and 64GB) at the same prices Apple charges ($629, $729 and $829, respectively). The company will also offer the same data plans that one can activate through Apple, with 250MB plans at $14.99 per month, and 2GB plans for $25 per month. Both plans include access to Ma Bell’s domestic WiFi spots (23,000 locations in the U.S.).
Earlier on Thursday, Verizon announced that it would be offering iPads bundled with MiFi mobile hot spot devices for $0.99 more than the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G devices with integrated 3G support. The existing 3G support in the iPad units is for GSM networks, which AT&T runs, while Verizon’s network runs on a competing technology called CDMA. On the other hand, MiFi mobile hot spots allow up to five different devices to connect to the Internet, while iPad Wi-Fi + 3G supports only the iPad as of this writing.
In the last week, Apple has dramatically increased the number of retail spots where the iPad will be available, with the addition of more than 5,000 brick and mortar stores being added by AT&T, Verizon, Wal-Mart, and Sam’s Club. Best Buy announced in September it was expanding the iPad to all 1,093 of its stores.