With so many manufacturers trying so hard to see their products reach the top, being able to design and put together a fascinating device isn’t enough anymore. Instead, fans have to get the feeling that there’s a team that works 24/7 in order to provide better services and that’s why we’ve already gotten used to news and leaks regarding a certain product not providing all the info at once, as to ensure for some constant fuss around the respective gadget. After finding out some details about the upcoming BlackBerry Playbook tab, we were fed some rumors regarding the possible Gingerbread and Honeycomb updates that the Samsung Galaxy tablet should get as soon as the packs will be available. We now have more precise information regarding the price tags that the Samsung tab will have at five of the major six carriers in the US and time has come for a more thorough comparison of the plans to be made, taking into consideration extra options, basic fares and contract length.
At a first glance, AT&T charges $50 more than all the others for the off-contract tab, but the $0 activation charges, fair data plan and the $50 Media Hub voucher come to try and compensate for the unusual difference in the starting price. If we ignore the data plans, US Cellular wins the race by a mile, but in the real world, real people don’t just buy tabs, but also use them and paying $15 for only 200MB isn’t exactly what we’d call a best price. T-Mobile and Verizon both have the same off-contract price tag, the same $35 activation fee, no vouchers and practically the same largest data plan ratio ($40 for 5 GB compared to $80 for $10 GB) so the decision between the two is the easiest one to make: if you need lots of GB, Verizon can provide that, while T-Mobile will most likely be the choice of those not really using 10 GB every month. Any case scenario, both carriers have the smallest price per GB, so the activation fees shouldn’t be considered as very big turn-offs.
Sprint have opted to minimize the cost of the smallest 2 GB data plan (only $3 per 200 MB), but the larger plan isn’t really that big of a deal. Furthermore, they’re probably the only ones to charge extra for the Hotspot service, while AT&T don’t offer one, Verizon have it included in the starting price and US Cellular provide it for free if users choose the 5 GB plan. No info on whether T-Mobile will take any interest in this aspect or they’re just going to ignore it completely.
To wrap things up, we can’t say there’s a clear winner in all the aspects and that’s perfectly normal. Each carrier has chosen another path and the ones to win from this are the potential buyers who can pick an offer that suits their needs best. US Cellular is the cheapest place to start, but it might prove costly on the medium to long term. Verizon have an activation fee, but that can be compensated by the fair data plans and the included Hotspot service, while Sprint has the best ratio on the small plans. T-Mobile on the other hand has an incredible $25 per 200 MB ratio on the same small data plan, thus pushing customers towards the bigger one. Finally, AT&T has the highest off-contract price and medium prices on both plan fares, but probably hopes to attract buyers with the no activation fee and the vouchers. All in all, it’s really a matter of what each individual needs more, rather than what choice is generally better.