updated 08:35 pm EST, Tue March 9, 2010
Verizon hopes to sell MiFi to iPad buyers
Verizon tonight was caught distributing a memo to retail staff encouraging them to sell to iPad customers. The note obtained by Engadget encourages floor workers to promote the idea of using a Wi-Fi only iPad with a Novatel MiFi router. Mixing the two would not only save the $130 premium on an iPad with built-in 3G but would help users get off of AT&T's "overloaded network with limited coverage," according to the memo.
The strategy is slightly unusual as it ignores the actual cost of service. To achieve an instant bargain over the 3G iPad, a MiFi requires both $50 and a two-year contract; it costs $270 without. Verizon's plan costs twice as much per month at $60 for 5GB and gives the user a carrier-locked device where the iPad's own modem can be used on any provider that supports micro SIM cards. AT&T's $30 plan is also technically unlimited.
Novatel's option would primarily give iPad owners the option of sharing the 3G connection with four other devices where the iPad can't tether to an iPhone. AT&T doesn't have a MiFi or a similar 3G router as of today.
Verizon is known to heavily center its retail marketing around any Apple-related devices and has used unusual tactics to try and bring attention back to itself, such as proudly touting its normal store hours on the original iPhone's launch day as though they were a major opportunity. Lately, it has softened its stance and has separated Apple from AT&T, sometimes praising the iPhone but attacking the service it has to use.