Sprint Wallops Verizon With Samsung Galaxy Pricing

Sprint Nextel Corp. will charge substantially less for the new Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet than rival Verizon Wireless.

Sprint will sell the new device, widely considered to be the first real challenger to the Apple iPad, for $399.99. Verizon has priced the Galaxy Tab at $600.

The difference is that Sprint will require a two-year data contract, while Verizon is going month-to-month. Sprint will offer a 2GB tier with unlimited messaging for $29.99 each month, or 5GB with unlimited messaging for $59.99. Verizon has a 1GB plan for $20 per month.

Sprint will launch the Galaxy Tab on Nov. 14, although it is offering pre-orders as of today, with the purchase of a $50 Sprint gift card.

The Galaxy Tab, which will be carried by all of the major operators in the United States, is a little smaller than the iPad, coming in at 7 inches, and it weighs about half as much as Apples darling. It carries about 16GB of memory, and will allow up to seven hours of continuous video playback. Unlike the Apple offering, it has a 3-megapixel, rear-facing camera on board, and a made-for-video-chat 1.3-megapixel camera on the front. It will also come with a car dock for large-screen GPS navigation and more.

Sprints pricing move is just the kind of strategy the wireless carrier needs as it competes with the larger Verizon and, of course, AT&T. Sprint is the third-largest mobile operator in the United States and has struggled to recover from its disastrous merger with Nextel. But the company has gained momentum by being the first to offer 4G broadband access and the devices to make use of it; Sprint also has undercut its competitors voice-and-data plans with an unlimited option for less than $70.

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