AT&T to sell Galaxy Tab for $50 more than competitors

Price is $21 higher than iPad, and is seen as not undercutting iPad sales

AT&T and Samsung announced today that AT&T will start selling the 7-in. Samsung Galaxy Tab for $649.99 on Nov. 21, becoming the fourth of the major U.S. carriers to offer the new tablet computer.

AT&T already sells the 16GB version of Apple's iPad tablet with Wi-Fi and 3G for $629, and it will offer the Galaxy Tab with the same monthly data plans that it provides for the iPad. Those plans are $14.99 a month for 250MB of data service and $25 a month for 2GB.

The fact that AT&T is pricing the Galaxy Tab $21 higher than it's pricing the iPad is seen by many as an attempt to give AT&T customers an incentive to buy an iPad, which comes with a larger 9.7-in. touchscreen but doesn't have the two cameras or the removable memory card of the Galaxy Tab.

And a Galaxy Tab from AT&T will cost $50 more than an unlocked version from Verizon Wireless or T-Mobile USA.

Verizon, which started selling the Galaxy Tab last Thursday, is also offering four monthly data plans, and it only sells the device unlocked. Verizon's data plans start at $20 a month for 1GB of data and up to $80 a month for 10GB.

T-Mobile, which began selling the Galaxy Tab last Wednesday, has two pricing options: $399.99 with a two-year contract or $600 without a contract and two choices of data plans. Sprint Nextel started selling the tablet on Sunday for $399.99 with a two-year contract.

Tablet maker Samsung will be the biggest winner, since its Galaxy Tab is being sold by all four major U.S. carriers. Apple's iPad is sold by AT&T and, more recently, by Verizon, which offers the device in a package with a MiFi mobile hot spot. It's estimated that iPad sales have hit the 8 million mark; the Galaxy Tab is expected to take much longer to reach that threshold.

Still, some reviewers, including Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal, have given the Galaxy Tab favorable ratings, even though it has a smaller screen than the iPad.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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