Verizon, Sprint slash price of Samsung Galaxy Tab to $199.99

Attempting to put more competitive pressure on Apple's iPad, both Sprint and Verizon Wireless dropped the price of the Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet to $199.99 when signing a two-year contract. The price cut is the third this year, after the Tab debuted in October of last year.

Verizon initially offered the device unsubsidized at a cost of $599.99, while Sprint decided to subsidize the cost at $399.99. In January, Verizon dropped the cost by $100 as did Sprint, although Verizon would later decide to subsidize the cost and offer it for the same price as its competitor.

AT&T offers a GSM version of the Tab, but so far has not cut the price at the same rate as its competitors. The device currently sells for $549.99 with a two-year contract required.

It appears as if the carriers hope that the initial price of acquisition is enough to entice buyers to choose the Tab over the market-leading iPad. The cheapest iPad -- which comes with Wi-Fi only -- retails for $499, and the 3G iPad starts at $629 with no carrier subsidy.

While it may seem like a good deal, the overall cost of ownership over that two year term makes the Tab more expensive than the entry level iPad. On Verizon, the cheapest plan is $20 monthly, meaning an additional $480 must be tacked on to the initial acquisition price. On Sprint it is $29.99 monthly, adding $719.76.

Even when comparing the Tab to a 3G iPad, the iPad could still come out ahead. This is due to the fact that Apple has directed carriers to offer data plans without contracts, meaning a user can subscribe and unsubscribe as they please. That said, over a two-year period the iPad would be more expensive -- the cheapest plan would add $359.76, giving a final cost of $988.76.

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