Just in time for the iPad Air, T-Mobile is taking its "un-carrier" strategy to tablets. And tablet makers may love the wireless carrier for it.
T-Mobile's research shows that nearly 90 percent of all tablets sold only connect over Wi-Fi. That's at least partly because a data package can run up a monthly bill few customers are willing to pay. That means tablet-makers are selling fewer high-margin devices that can use 4G LTE. T-Mobile could help change that with its new initiative, called T-Mobile Un-leashed.
"Tablets are supposed to be un-tethered like smartphones, but it hasn't worked out that way because people know carriers will charge them an arm and a leg for data," said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. "Carriers figured out a long time ago that they could make money -- a lot of money -- by forcing customers into restrictive, overpriced data plans. We changed it for smartphones and we're changing it for tablets."
Too Good To Be True?
T-Mobile is the only major national wireless provider to dish out free data for life on tablets. T-Mobile is offering tablet owners up to 200 MB of free 4G LTE data every month, even if they're not yet a T-Mobile customer. That much data translates to sending about 800 Instagram photos, more than 2,500 text e-mails or streaming 200 minutes of music.
Customers who want more data can choose another plan with no annual service contracts, no data overages and a 4G LTE network. T-Mobile offers daily, weekly and monthly options for adding 4G LTE data. Daily passes include unlimited data, including 500 MB of 4G LTE data starting at just $5. The weekly passes include unlimited data with 1 GB of 4G LTE data for $10.
For T-Mobile voice customers, always-on tablet plans start at $10 a month for unlimited data including 500 MB of 4G LTE data each month. Customers can add even more 4G LTE data in 2 GB increments for just $10 more per month. And post-paid customers that add a monthly Simple Choice tablet plan automatically get unlimited data to include more than 100 countries worldwide at no extra charge.
T-Mobile's Tablet Line-Up
T-Mobile also announced plans to extend its existing smartphone trade-in program to tablets. Beginning Nov. 1, anyone with a qualifying tablet can bring it into a participating T-Mobile store -- even if it's only Wi-Fi capable -- and receive a discount on a new tablet.
The company will offer iPad Air and iPad mini, both with Wi-Fi and Cellular, starting Nov. 1 and iPad mini with Retina display with Wi-Fi and Cellular later in November. The carrier will offer the revolutionary tablets starting at $0 down for qualified customers.
T-Mobile also offers the Google Nexus 7, featuring a 7-inch full HD display and virtual surround sound. T-Mobile today announced it will offer the Nexus 7 beginning Nov. 20 for $0 down with 24 equal monthly device payments of $16. Consumers can also pick up a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 from T-Mobile. It offers a 10.1-inch display and will sell for $0 down with 24 payments of $19.