T-Mobile has rolled out the next phase of its “Un-carrier” campaign, and this time the cellular company is coming for your tablet. According to USA Today, T-Mobile will be offering a tablet plan that allows customers to pay for new devices in installments. And, of course, the flagship device will be the iPad Air, which T-Mobile will allow customers to purchase for $0 down.
But even more exciting than the prospect of purchasing a T-Mobile iPad is how T-Mobile will package data with that tablet; as part of its effort to distinguish itself from other major carriers, T-Mobile is offering a free tablet data plan. Though it’s not the most generous plan in the world, tablet subscribers running T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network will receive at no additional charge 200 MB of data every month for the life of their devices. According to a press release from T-Mobile, that’s enough to upload 800 photos to Instagram, send over 2,500 emails or stream 200 minutes of music. In addition to the T-Mobile iPad, the no-cost data plan can be applied to other tablets, including Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
What’s the Catch?
Although the prospect of free data is certainly an alluring one (especially when you can purchase a tablet for $0 down and pay in small installments), T-Mobile is betting that consumers who buy tablets from them will exhaust the paltry free data plan fairly quickly and will then want to upgrade to a paid plan. Though this isn’t a catch per se, it does lure users in with the promise of free 4G data, without providing a quantity that is practical for the pro or even average user. Casual users (or those who use Wi-Fi extensively) will probably benefit most from this free plan, but average users or those who are already tied to a tablet data plan with T-Mobile probably won’t see any benefit from this new plan.
While T-Mobile’s new Un-carrier initiative has proved fruitful for the carrier (according to a recent comScore report, they’ve been making some serious subscriber gains in the past quarter), it has yet to pull T-Mobile out of fourth place overall among its peers. However, with demand for the new iPad Air expected to hit a fever pitch this holiday, users may be drawn to both T-Mobile’s installment plan and the allure of free data. Though neither will really save consumers a lot of money in the long run, these two marketing initiatives could draw some additional traffic for the company this winter. But will they be enough to attract subscribers who are already content with their current set-up?
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