Update: In a back and forth with a reporter over Twitter last night (below), Legere confirmed what many of us had found out through the website and online: You need to be a T-Mobile customer to get the 200mb of free data.

Back on the announcement date of the new iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, many potential iPad with Cellular users were excited to see that “un-carrier” T-Mobile USA would be offering 200MB of data per month at no charge.

However, several readers and tipsters today noted that when trying to purchase a T-Mobile-optimized iPad Air, the carrier would actually charge $10 per month for that 200MB of data. The exception was apparently for subscribers to voice smartphone plans on T-Mobile; these customers would be credited back the $10 of data each month.

Now, T-Mobile CEO John Legere has responded to this mixup by noting that there are “no strings attached.” He calls the charges an “executional mistake” and notes that the situation will be corrected…

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 6.42.48 PM

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 6.42.40 PM

It’s currently unclear how this will be fixed, but it is at least encouraging to know that T-Mobile will be sticking to its original word and that the apparent charges were simply a mistake.

9to5-image 2013-11-04 at 10.38.37 AM

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15 Responses to “T-Mobile CEO says free 200MB of iPad data has ‘no exceptions/strings attached’ unless already being a T-Mobile customer is considered a string”

  1. I was on the phone with T-Mobile this morning at 5:30 a.m. (PDT) and the operators seemed very unprepared. The guy I was speaking with didn’t even realize today was the iPad launch day until he arrived at work.

    He first tried to charge me for a full data plan, saying the 200 MB was in addition to a plan. Then, when I read him text from T-Mobile’s own website, he figured out I needed an “On Demand” service ($10/mo.) but because I was a voice customer, he gave me the $10 credit.

    He said to me, however, that if I wasn’t a voice customer, I would have had to pay the $10.

    The problem, both he and his supervisor said, was that the T-Mobile computer system would not allow an iPad sale to be made without some sort of data plan. Unless the On Demand $10 plan or a larger plan was selected, his screen “grayed out” the submit button.

    I’m assuming from your article this computer screen bit was fixed.

    Also beware — the $0/$99/$199 only is offered if you have perfect credit. I already got an iPhone 5s for the advertised $99/$199/$299, so I assumed I had perfect credit. But now that I tried to do a second “line” as the iPad is considered, my credit risk apparently went up and I was forced to pay $159 for the supposedly $99 32 GB iPad.

    Finally, the T-Mobile press release originally said a 64 GB iPad Air would be available. That option was not available for purchase either online or on the phone this morning. In addition, the demand was so high, parts of the online “checkout” page were broken, making any online purchase impossible.

    Of course, that’s probably what you get when you call them at 5:30 a.m. on the first day.


  2. Marco Lodola says:

    I don’t understand how US companies can charge this much.
    On my iPad i have a weekly data cap of 5Gb and I pay €19/Month!!


  3. Well this is good news; I still don’t see why the “Cellular” version of the iPad air commands a $130 premium over the wifi only model.


    • There are additional components in the cellular version, not to mention the licensing costs for using such technology. But if you look at T-Mobile’s press release (http://newsroom.t-mobile.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=251624&p=irol-newsarticle&ID=1867397), the 16GB iPad Air + LTE is offered at $26.25 per month for 24 months. Add that up and it’s $630. That’s quite a deal, considering there’s no interest and you’re getting 200MB per month with it. You’re just spreading the $130 “premium” over the course of 24 months, which adds up to $5.42. Finally, if you cancel the contract, you only need to pay the balance, no penalty. No other carrier offers anything like this, so I’m sold on their offer.

      However, I’ll be waiting for the iPad mini with Retina Display + LTE when T-Mobile finally has it ready to pick up or preorder.


    • tallestskil says:

      You don’t see why the extra hardware, development, manufacturing, and licensing should cost more? Really?


  4. Steve Denver says:

    Except a day later and they are still tacking on the $10 per month plan fee in addition to the monthly iPad payment. Making it over $36 a month not $26. Seems there are “strings attached”.


  5. It would be very helpful if T-mobile had a representative explain the options in plain language. I’ve talked to three different customer care people and they have all said different things.


  6. Boy what a debacle! The right hand certainly doesn’t seem to know what the left hand is doing! Retail stores are not honoring the deal. Talked to 6 people yesterday (3 online, 3 in stores) all had different concepts of how this works. As of today (3rd) it looks like the website is now tacking on a $20.00 a month data fee. Sure comes across as the old bait and switch routine! Called on the 1st and after 20 minutes on the phone with a rep (she checked 3 times with different people during it) I was finally told that every month that $10.00 charge would be credited back indicating that the deal does indeed remain in place as it was originally described, and that the $10.00 a month charge was a mistake! She then wanted to know if I wanted to go ahead and purchase it and I told her the terms online legally locked me into something entirely different and I’ll pass until it is fixed!


  7. Just tried to buy an ipad air at THREE stores. First store (Los Angeles #9797) would not let me have the 200 mb free plan, saying it was only 200 mb in addition to a “value plan”. Second store (Los Angeles #8235) refused to acknowledge the 200 mb free plan, saying it was only free for 30 days. Third store (Los Angeles-La cienega/pico) refused to sell the iPad to me unless I purchased a “Value plan” contract. She finally said I could buy the ipad only if I could pay upfront in cash. It’s ridiculous.

    I am convinced the retail outlets are surreptitiously ignoring the 200 mb/month free plans because they get no commission on selling the ipad without a contract.


  8. “You need to be a T-Mobile customer to get the 200mb of free data.” This statement is completely false. ANY people with a T-mobile sim and a tablet can take advantage of the free 200mb of free data. Get your facts right 9to5mac.


  9. He went back on his word – You have to be a voice customer to get it free.


  10. klagoosh says:

    When is a string, not a string? When it is a string as described by T-Mobile. Or in other words, to borrow from Mr. Shakespeare… a string by any other name would smell as bad… lol


  11. Bad PR….. seems John Legre needs English 101 – He does not understand the meaning of “NO STRINGS attached”. I was one of the customer who got the ipad last month when it came out – sales rep had promised there would be no $10.00 charge and I will only owe $24 and some cents toward the ipad that was not true.
    Returned my ipad back to the store…sorry John I think you need to work on error on your side and fix it.