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Verizon locking WiFi on Motorola Xoom until you buy one month of data service?

Darren Murph
02.06.11
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Call us crazy, but we're having a hard time interpreting this line of fine print in any other way:
"To activate WiFi functionality on this device, a minimum of one month data subscription is required."
That's listed under Best Buy's most recent ad highlighting the world's first Android 3.0 tablet, and it most certainly sounds both ominous and ridiculous. Hardcore Verizon followers may remember the days of Big Red crippling Bluetooth radios in phones in order to "coerce" users to purchase ringtones and such from them rather than snagging one on the subway from Tom, Dick and / Jane, so we definitely wouldn't put something like this by the company. It's hard to say how this will be implemented once the $800 Xoom hits retail shelves, but it's certainly hard to believe that this is a Best Buy policy (and not a Verizon mandate). We'll be digging for more details (after all, this could all be some strange, terrible dream), but we'll be straight with you -- we don't like the potential implications here.

Update: We're hearing from some Best Buy Mobile employees that these simply won't be able to be sold without being first activated on Verizon's network, so even though you could theoretically cancel the same day, you'll still likely get hit with a one-time activation fee (and possibly one month of data). Then again, there appears to be typos on the flyer, so you may want to wait for Verizon's official word before getting up in arms.

[Thanks, Michael]

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