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T-Mobile Disrupts LTE Tablet Pricing

UPDATE! Bellevue, Wash. – T-Mobile lobbed its second price bomb in as many days by announcing plans to become the only major national carrier or retailer to offer LTE-equipped tablets at the same price as their Wi-Fi-only counterparts. 4/10/2014 08:36:00 AM Eastern

Bellevue, Wash. – T-Mobile lobbed its second price bomb in as many days by announcing plans to become the only major national carrier or retailer to offer LTE-equipped tablets at the same price as their Wi-Fi-only counterparts.

For a limited time starting April 12, T-Mobile will price LTE-equipped tablets, including Apple iPads, at the same price as their Wi-Fi counterparts for new and existing subscribers who activate the tablet on a contract-free data plan of 1GB or more. The savings on tablet prices are up to $130.

For consumers who trade in an existing cellular-equipped or Wi-Fi-only tablet, the carrier will also pay up to $300 in trade-in value and up to another $350 in early termination fees if a consumer’s tablet is under contract for data service with a rival carrier.

Also for new and existing subscribers, T-Mobile will offer $10 off select internet data plans starting April 12h through the end of 2014. As a result, voice-plan users can get up to 1GB of 4G LTE data free every month through the end of the year, the carrier said. That’s on top of a free 200MB that subscribers get free for life under an existing Free Data For Life program.

Yesterday, T-Mobile unveiled a Simple Starter value plan that positions T-Mobile as the only major U.S. carrier offering a $40 single-line smartphone plan with 4G data, and unlimited talk and unlimited texting. The Simple Starter plan, which launches April 12, provides up to 500MB of 4G LTE data and tethering with no data-overage charges. After 500MB of data, data service is suspended unless users get on-demand data passes through My.T-Mobile.com, visiting a T-Mobile store, or calling customer care, a spokesman said.

Under the new tablet promotion, called Operating Tablet Freedom, consumers pay the Wi-Fi-only price of $499 for the LTE-equipped 16GB iPad Air, normally priced at $630, the company said. In another example, T-Mobile said it is pricing the LTE Samsung Tab 3 at $200 instead of $312.

"The un-carrier is all about solving pain points, and today we're eliminating every reason to be stuck on an unconnected Wi-Fi-only tablet,” said president/CEO John Legere.