Verizon Wireless Stops Subsidizing Tablets, Now Selling Them At Full Retail Sans Wireless Contract

Watch out for exploding prices! Verizon Wireless just stopped subsidizing tablets, which naturally results in a lot higher advertised prices. Want a 16GB Motorola XYZBoard? That will be $629. A Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7? Hand over $549.

Verizon Wireless quietly made the switch late last month when launching the “Share Everything” family plans. With this new service contract, subscribers have the option of allowing a tablet access to the bucket of data shared among devices. In the past tablets required a separate data plan, and therefore a separate contract, which locked owners into a tablet that will likely be quickly outdated.

This new pricing scheme puts Verizon’s Android tabs on the same level as the iPad which was never offered by any US carrier with subsidized pricing. Previously, Verizon sold Android tablets like phones and offered deep discounts in exchange for a two-year commitment on a data plan. But that strategy doesn’t work as well for tablets as phones. The churn cycle of tablets is much faster than phones. New tablet models almost always leapfrog the capabilities of previous models. Plus, U.S. carriers have never offered stellar subsidized deals on tablets. Aside from initial sticker shock, selling tablets at the full retail cost with month-to-month data plans is the best thing for consumers.

Hopefully other carriers will follow suit. While AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile give the customer the option to buy at full retail or with a discount, they still rely on subsidized pricing to lure in unsuspecting customers. Tablets should be sold like computers, rather than phones. Well done, VZW.

We reached out to Verizon Wireless for comment but they have yet to respond.