T-Mobile’s “Free” Data Plan for the iPad Has a Big GOTCHA! (Updated)

T-Mobile’s “Free” Data Plan for the iPad Has a Big GOTCHA! (Updated)

I’ll admit, I was intrigued by T-Mobile’s announcement that they would be offering 200MB of 4G data to anyone who purchased a cellular enabled iPad Air that could run on its network. Free data, no matter how small an amount it may be, and the ability to pay over time in what amounts to a über low interest loan, what a deal!


So, I got up early this morning and logged on to the T-Mobile website to purchase a new iPad Air using their monthly payments plan, and to get that sweet free 200 MB of data each month that they’ve been bragging about so much. All went well until it was time to check out, then… Where the hell did this $10 a month data fee come from?

It seems that unless you’re already a T-Mobile voice customer, the company will be charging you a $10 a month fee for that 200 MB of “free” data you’ll be getting each month. Voice customers will still get “charged” the $10 extra, but they’ll automatically receive a monthly credit for the same amount on their bill. (Thanks to AppAdvice for this info.)

Hmmm… Maybe T-Mobile stated this in their press release, and I just missed it. The old eyes aren’t as good as they used to be…

“And every T-Mobile iPad user will receive 200 MB of free 4G LTE data every month for as long as they own their iPad, even if they aren’t yet a T-Mobile customer.”

Nope, nothing there that I can see. I read it through twice. No mention of non-voice customers paying an extra $10.

While the deal T-Mobile is giving for payments on the iPad Air is still attractive for a lowly paid writer like me, it becomes a little less so with T-Mobile’s $10 “tax” for users who aren’t already voice customers with the company. SIGH! There really is no free lunch!

(UPDATE 11/01/13) – MacRumors reports that T-Mobile CEO John Legere has tweeted in an attempt to clear up the misunderstanding about his company’s free 200MB monthly plans for iPads on the magenta network.

The $10 per mo./fee written about today is incorrect. We had an executional mistake that we will make right. – @JohnLegere

Yes. Everyone gets the 200MB of free data. No exceptions. No strings attached. – @JohnLegere

So, I guess I can be expecting a correction on my first monthly bill?