T-Mobile’s Tablets Un-leashed program, announced today, is the latest in a string of moves the carrier has made with the apparent goal of disrupting the U.S. wireless market, which has been heavily dominated by AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Among other things, T-Mobile’s new “Tablets Un-leashed” program gives customers 200 megabytes of free LTE data every month for as long as they own their tablets. Customers don’t have to sign a contract and can obtain a tablet with no down payment.
At a press conference today, T-Mobile said models available for no down payment include the Google Nexus 7, iPad mini, iPad Nano and the new iPad Air. Monthly payments for those devices are $16, $18, $22 and $26, respectively.
The carrier is also offering a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 ten-inch tablet for $99.99 down and 24 monthly payments of $15. Additional devices will be forthcoming, the carrier said.
T-Mobile recently announced nationwide LTE coverage and the company is wasting no time in aggressively pursuing new customers to put traffic on that network. Interestingly, today’s announcement notes that T-Mobile is targeting “the nearly 90% of all tablets that only connect over Wi-Fi because [owners] worried mobile connections would mean big monthly bills.”
Other notable aspects of Tablets Un-leashed include:
• Consumers can obtain the free monthly 200 MB of LTE data even if they are not yet a T-Mobile customer. According to T-Mobile’s website, consumers can use any tablet that works on T-Mobile’s network
• T-Mobile voice customers can get “always-on” tablet plans for $10 a month for unlimited data including 500 MB of 4G LTE data each month. Customers can add more 4G LTE data in 2 GB increments for $10 more per month
• Consumers can receive a discount on a new tablet by turning in a qualifying tablet model even if it’s WiFi-only
• Daily passes are available for $5, including unlimited data with 500 MB of 4G LTE
• Weekly passes are available for $10 and include unlimited data with 1 GB of 4G LTE data for $10
• Postpaid customers who add a monthly Simple Choice tablet plan automatically get unlimited data to more than 100 countries worldwide at no extra charge
While some carriers seem to move in lockstep with regard to pricing, contracts, data caps and the like, T-Mobile has been pushing against tradition month after month since announcing its Un-Carrier strategy last year. Since then the company has made a number of bold moves, including launching a trade-in program for the iPhone 5 and enabling people to upgrade their mobile phones as frequently as twice and year.
T-Mobile follows in the footsteps of FreedomPop in offering free mobile data. According to FreedomPop executives, demand for its offering has been strong, suggesting that T-Mobile’s higher-profile option should have even greater success.