That's a pretty good deal, and a good incentive for users to fork over the extra $130 for the cellular-enabled iPad models. For most users, I can see 200 MB working fine with some common sense data budgeting (i.e., no audio and video streaming, load up the GPS routes ahead of time and don't use satellite images, turn off background refresh, etc.). Considering that most iPads sold are the wifi-only models, most users already get by without mobile data for their tablets.
For T-Mobile, the freebie is a nice way of getting some of their customers hooked on mobile data. I would assume that once a customer goes through their 200 MB allotment, they have the option of waiting until the next 30-day cycle or adding the $30/month 2.5 GB prepaid plan. It seems that T-Mobile thinks that enough consumers will take the upsell to make this freebie pay for itself, although the lack of any lower priced data options would probably reduce the number of takers.
That said, I think the market for these tablet data plans is changing rapidly, with demand probably ready to decline. As others have mentioned, T-Mobile now includes tethering with all of its postpaid plans, and the both Verizon and AT&T are moving their customers into shared mobile plans that can include tablet devices.
When Jobs introduced the iPad in 2010, he also introduced the prepaid contract-free $15/month data-only plan ($30/month unlimited data) as a game changer. Considering that the standalone mobile data options that existed at that time consisted of USB dongles and mi-fi devices with service rates of $50+/month and contract requirements, it was a major sea change.
Originally Posted by Apple ][
If somebody is first going to spend $130 more for an LTE iPad, wouldn't they want to get more use out of it than a lousy 200 MB per month? That'll last how long? 15 minutes?
I guess that I just don't see the point in this 200 MB for free.
Even when your iPad is just sitting around, doing nothing, there's always traffic happening, like email notifications coming in etc..
Well, when we bought our iPad 3, I decided on the cellular version basically to try out the mobile data. Even if we decided not to keep the data plan, the iPad would still come with the GPS transponder that the wifi-only models do not include.
Keep in mind that everyone in our family at that time used prepaid feature phones, so the iPad data was our only mobile data plan. In the year and a half that we've had the iPad, we've only exceeded the 250 MB data allotment on the $15/month AT&T plan once. In the case of AT&T, if you exceed the mobile data allotment, you have a choice of either upgrading to a higher data plan or resetting the 30-day cycle for the $15 plan to today.
Even though we use the iPad for hours on end everyday, I found that the vast majority of usage is in areas where wifi is available. The only time that we really use the mobile data for the iPad is in the car, and we primarily bring the iPad with us only on long trips. We only use the mobile data on those occasions where we need the GPS for directions or want to web browse on long road trips. As long as nobody's doing audio or video streaming, the 250 MB allotment can be quite workable for most usage.