As a certified internet junkie, I got excited to see that Verizon has started carrying iPads. Not because I want a Verizon iPhone, but because I knew they carried a product called MiFi. MiFi is the size of a small cell phone, and gives you a 3G signal that you can use as a WiFi hotspot. Needless to say, this is a pretty cool little trinket.

I bought my iPad on launch day, and went with the WiFi-only model. I didn’t see a need for the 3G, but I also didn’t anticipate just how much I would be using it once I became dependent on my awesome 10.5 tablet. With MiFi, I could get a cell based signal for times I’m not around a WiFi signal.

Today I went to a Verizon store to check one out. What I learned was a major shock.
There were two options for me:

Option one:

I get a MiFi with a two year contract for $100 (and a $50 rebate). With it, I could get 250MB a month for $40, or 5GB a month for $60. Wow! That’s ridiculous! The service charges alone over the length of the contract would add up to $960 or $1440.

Option two:

I go pre-paid. Without a contract, Verizon wants $240 for a MiFi (the rep corrected me when I said this price, saying it was only $239.99). The service charges are slightly hard to follow.* You can pay $15 a for 100MB that lasts for a day, $30 for 300MB that lasts for a week, $50 for 1GB that lasts for a month, or $80 for 5MB that last for a month. Needless to say, this costs even more in the long run. The rep in the store was unable to give me a clear answer about how long the data you pay for lasts, and it took him 15 minutes just to find the prepaid information for me.

I know AT&T catches a lot of flack– hell, I do it myself. That being said, it seems a lot cheaper to just buy a 3G iPad to get service through them. At least then, it’s only $20 a month for 250MB or $25 a month for 2MB, and it’s non-contracted (meaning you can use it like pre-paid, if you’re careful with the dates). To me, it seems like AT&T is the easy choice here.

* The official Verizon iPad + MiFi Promotional Bundle FAQ