Verizon Wireless to Sell Apple IPad That Connects Directly to Its Network

Verizon Wireless will sell a version of Apple Inc.’s iPad tablet computer that can connect directly to its network, posing another challenge to AT&T Inc. as the carrier’s exclusive hold on the iPhone draws to a close.

Verizon will get an embedded chip in the iPad for use on its network, Francis Shammo, chief financial officer of Verizon Communications Inc., the parent of the wireless unit, said today in an interview in New York. IPad users currently need an extra device to connect to Verizon’s network. Shammo declined to say when the change may happen.

Verizon Wireless, the biggest U.S. mobile-phone carrier, began selling the iPad in its stores in a package with its credit card-sized Wi-Fi device in October for $629.99 to $829.99. Apple, which introduced the iPad in April, offers versions of the tablet that connect directly to AT&T’s network.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, sold about 7.5 million iPads through September and, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., may sell more than 37 million of the devices this year.

Verizon Wireless, based in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, said today it will begin selling the iPhone on its network to all customers on Feb. 10. AT&T, based in Dallas, had been the exclusive carrier of the smartphone since 2007.

Verizon Communications, which co-owns the wireless unit with Vodafone Group Plc, fell 56 cents to $35.36 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. AT&T declined 43 cents to $27.91. Verizon has lost 1.2 percent this year and AT&T has declined 5 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Bensinger in New York at gbensinger1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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