My last two iPad purchases have been for the 3G/4G models since I find the convenience of integrated wireless cellular data to be valuable when traveling. The great thing with the Apple iPad is that you have full control over the data plan and can use it when you want. T-Mobile just launched new no annual contract mobile broadband plans in weekly and monthly blocks fortablets, mobile hotspots, and laptop sticks.
With the LTE iPad on Verizon, you can even tether with this data plan, giving you complete control over your data usage. I have argued that Android tablets were in part failing because U.S. wireless carriers required a minimum monthly data plan and 2-year contract to buy the tablet at a reasonable price. MoTR co-host Kevin Tofel wrote the same thing in February. Today, you actually can purchase Android tablets (at the full price) and use data month-to-month with wireless carriers, but there are things such as activation fees that still don't make it as clean and simple as the iPad.
These new No Annual Contract mobile broadband plans launched yesterday and give you the following plan options, without any contract required:
- 300MB 1-week pass for $15
- 1.5GB 1-month pass for $25
- 3.5GB 1-month pass for $35
- 5GB 1-month pass for $50
T-Mobile currently offers three Android tablets with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, T-Mobile Springboard, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. With a 2-year contract, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is priced at $399.99 and with no contract the price is $649.99. Looking at the specifications and comparing it with the new 3G iPad we see the price is comparable with the 16GB 3G iPad priced at $629. You can find this same tablet on Verizon with comparable month-to-month plans.
The carriers don't advertise these month-to-month plans in most cases since they figure you will pay the subsidized price and if you do want to save a couple hundred dollars up front they can lock you in to 2-year contracts with minimum monthly data fees. Do yourself a favor and pay the higher no-contract price and then decide when you want to use data. On my iPad, I typically sign up for carrier data 3-5 months a year, primarily when I am traveling a lot.
Related ZDNet coverage
- HTC and AT&T to offer HTC Jetstream for $699.99 WITH 2-year contract
- T-Mobile announces 7 inch SpringBoard and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
- Samsung admits not doing well in tablet market, should stop requiring data contracts
- Verizon's LTE iPad finally gives us data how we always wanted, on our terms
- Verizon Galaxy Tab 7.7 LTE; beauty comes at a high price (review)