t-mobileT-Mobile is adding a tempting offer. Free data (up to 200MB a month) and the ability to purchase select tablets on a two-year installment plan with no money down.

So, want a new iPad Mini but don’t want a big bill up front? No problem. You’d pay $22.08 a month ($529.92 total) and have an LTE-equipped device with no monthly data plan. Sound too good to be true? Check it out.

I generally advise against purchasing cellular-equipped tablets, especially for users in large metropolitan areas. Free public WiFi is easy enough to find, and for those occasions you can’t find a public hot-spot, there’s always pre-paid portable options. However, free date, even if a relatively small amount, could make me change my recommendations. Use WiFi when you can, and conserve your data for when you really need it. Sure, 200MB isn’t a lot, but if you use it carefully, it could last a month, especially if you only use it for email and light web-surfing. Or downloading your next eBook while lounging on the beach.

The installment plan also reduces the bite of the up-front cost. Naturally, I’m not advising anyone to purchase something you can’t afford, but still, it’s a nice option. Two years is an acceptable length of time. A good tablet (and all the options from T-Mobile are solid) will easily last that long. It’s not for the “gotta have the latest thing” tech geek, but most consumers don’t fall in that category.

The tablets available, starting in November, are the iPad Air, iPad Mini with Retina display (and that is way too long to write–shorten it, please, Apple!), the new Google Nexus 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.10.1. All in all, a pretty sweet line-up of options.

In my opinion, this makes the iPad Mini an even more tempting eBook reading device. No, it’s not eInk, but for anyone who can tolerate reading on a back-lit screen, you’ve got portability, a highly readable screen and now the ability to inexpensively download books where ever you are. Please stop me before I talk myself into yet another tablet. 😉


  1. Like you, I find T-Mobile’s offer most tempting. That’s particularly true since apparently exceeding that 200 meg a month allotment doesn’t kill your data service, it just throttles it down quite a bit. You could still get email.

    Where it’d be most helpful is traveling, where you’re on the road away from WiFi most of the day. I recently moved 2900 miles cross-country pulling a trailer behind my little Toyota. I had most lunches at MacDonalds to take advantage of their free WiFi, but having a cellular connection would have been most nice. I had an app that would have let me spot the cheapest place to get gas but without a data connection it was worthless. I coped by exiting for gas only where there were at least two stations.

    Buying a cellular iPad also means you get GPS, which can be quite handy traveling, especially with that larger screen. At times I get ticked off that Apple hasn’t developed a Bluetooth protocol that’d let a GPS-equipped iPhone share GPS location data with an iPad or a Mac laptop. It’d be a big step ahead of the competition.

    This move by T-Mobile is why I am glad AT&T wasn’t able to buy T-Mobile. The top 3 cellular providers seem to have an unspoken agreement not to have some offers that’d be popular with the public. As #4, T-Mobile doesn’t play by those rules. It breaks new ground.

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