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T-Mobile smashes Wi-Fi vs. cellular divide with same price iPad & tablet deals

by David Needle

April 11 2014

T-Mobile has launched an aggressive campaign that eliminates the standard and significant gap between the price of a Wi-Fi-only tablet and those with cellular connectivity.

For example, T-Mobile’s price for the 4G LTE version of the iPad Air is the same as the standard Wi-Fi-only model $499. Ditto the highest priced Apple model; the iPad Air with 128GB is the same $799 price whether you buy Wi-FI or 4G LTE model and the equivalent price continues with various iPad Mini models.

Similarly, you can spend the same $349.99 for a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Android tablet (Wi-Fi or 4G LTE model); $199.99 for the Galaxy Tab 3 or $269 for the Nexus 7 32 GB tablet - either Wi-Fi or 4G LTE models.

Most tablet vendors charge over $100 for a cellular version of their tablets. For example, Apple gets a $130 premium for iPads with both Wi-Fi and cellular.

As a result most tablets sold are of the Wi-Fi only variety and even many of those with cellular capability are underutilized as consumers are wary of incurring data charges or let their contract lapse after the terms have expired.

“Today the vast majority of American tablet owners are stuck on Wi-Fi or stuck in carrier contracts,” said T-Mobile.

Customers on a T-Mobile voice plan now can get 1 GB of free 4G LTE data for any tablet they buy from the carrier for every month through the rest of this year.

T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere said the new deals are “a full-on assault against the restrictions and pain points that keep tablet owners from experiencing life beyond the Wi-Fi zone .... today we’re eliminating every reason to be stuck on an unconnected Wi-Fi-only tablet. “

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