As tablets prove to be the driver for new subscription growth, T-Mobile has been searching for a way to bring more 4G slate connections to its network, offering free data promotions and even discounted devices. Starting next week, though, it’s going to try something new. It will match its current smartphone customers’ data plans on their tablets for $10 a month.
What that means is if you have a Simple Choice monthly data allotment of 1 GB, 3 GB or 5 GB, you will get the equivalent bucket of data on your tablet for an additional fee of $10 (sorry, unlimited customers, but all-you-can-eat plans do not apply). T-Mobile says this data will be on top of the 200 MB of free data it offers each month to all of its slate customers.
T-Mobile has been on a tear lately, bringing in the bulk of new smartphone connections in the last few quarters, but AT&T and Verizon certainly haven’t stopped growing, and one of the big reasons why is the recent surge in new 4G tablet subscriptions. T-Mobile clearly sees the writing on the wall: carriers are basically just luring the same smartphone customers away from one another, but tablets represent a relatively untapped market.
It remains to be seen whether T-Mobile’s pricing moves will put a dent in AT&T and Verizon’s tablet success, which is largely driven by shared data policies that make it easy to tack a slate onto to your existing data plan. T-Mobile’s new tablet plans don’t create shared data buckets – you get a separate smartphone bucket and separate tablet bucket of equal size – so they’re not quite as flexible as AT&T and Verizon’s shared plans.
But what T-Mobile lacks in flexibility, it makes up for in price. For $80 you can get T-Mo’s Simple Choice 5 GB plan with a 5 GB match on your tablet. The equivalent shared data plan on Verizon gives you only 1 GB to split between your slate and handset. On AT&T you could get 2 GB for $75 or 4 GB for $105 to split between your two devices each month.
The new plans will be available on September 3.