If You Finance An iPad Air, That “Free” T-Mobile Data Plan Isn’t Free

t-punktNo revolution is ever easy. The launch of T-Mobile’s plan to offer 200 megabytes per month of relatively slow free data to all tablet customers is no exception. The new plan happened to launch around the same time as the iPad Air, leading to some confusion. Customers were being forced into a $10 per month…but that couldn’t be right. Right?

No, and also yes. A glitch at launch meant that iPad customers were getting charged $10 per month for their free data, which T-Mo CEO John Legere eventually had to take to Twitter to dispel:

Turns out that the $10 fee is legit…if you financed your iPad purchase through T-Mobile. You get 200 free megabytes, all right, but that’s only on top of a mandatory $20 per month, 500-megabyte plan.

Customers can take home a 16 GB iPad Air for as little as $26.25 per month for 24 months, with no down payment. Like the installment plans for mobile phones, if you pay the iPad balance off early, you can shut off the $20 plan and go on your merry way.

Potential tablet-owners found this rather off-putting, and Legere issued a Twitter-based apology for the confusion.

T-Mobile’s no-money-down iPad offer requires $20 monthly plan for new customers [CNET] (via Appadvice – thanks, Adam!)

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  1. SingleMaltGeek says:

    I just spent an hour trying to buy one of these SIMs that supposedly comes with free data. First the cart kept saying it was empty. Finally a customer service rep had to give me a URL to use in order to put one in a different cart. Then they wouldn’t accept PO boxes for the billing address, so I put my work address. Then they rejected my payment because…

    …wait for it….

    …the “billing address” I had entered (work) didn’t match the credit card billing address (PO box).


    • Kakkorotto says:

      Man that sucks. They had free sims online and I didn’t have an issue getting them. I bought 2 with my card that had a diff shipping address then my billing address. I couldn’t get through the 1st day though. I tried again the 2nd and it worked.

  2. AdamStew82 says:

    I had issues ordering. I went to their website, and couldn’t figure out how to order without the $10/mo fee. So I called their telephone sales. The rep on the phone sold me the iPad, with the payment plan, without the monthly plan. I really hope they don’t try to start charging me another $20/mo in addition to the payment plan for the iPad.

  3. JoeBlow says:

    It is a little confusing, compounded by the fact that mistakes were made in the rollout.

    If you want to purchase a tablet on an installment plan, you need to have a service plan, either voice or data. If you are an existing customer, this means no additional charge. If you are a new customer, this means getting a plan.

    If you already have an unlocked tablet, or purchase one outright, you will not need a service plan.

    Two points of confusion seem to be the initial confusion with the $10/month access fee that was being incorrectly applied to these “free” data SIMs, and the fact that the option to purchase a device on an installment plan doesn’t appear to be “no strings attached,” when really, the string is attached to the installment plan, not to the data.

    I am curious as to what constitutes a “tablet”