WiFi tablets have always been the bigger sellers over their LTE counterparts, but T-Mobile is testing the theory that it was only price dictating that decision. The carrier announced Thursday evening it would drop prices on LTE iPads to match the WiFi-only versions.
That's a price drop of up to $130 for Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s iPad. T-Mobile US Inc. says it will also drop prices $10 on any LTE-enabled Android tablets as well. The "uncarrier" is also offering 1.2 GB of free LTE data each month for the rest of the year, as part of its "Operation Tablet Freedom" promotion. When it expires in January of next year, its customers will pay $10 per month if purchased with a postpaid voice plan. (See T-Mobile Zeros In on Tablets.)
Given the significant price delta, consumers have traditonally migrated towards WiFi-only tablets, although sales of the LTE versions have been on the upswing as operators have offered more packages and promotions. What will be most indicative is how often LTE gets used once T-Mobile's customers have to start paying for it, but even $10 per month is cheaper than most of its competitors offer. (See T-Mobile Not Stealing Customers… Yet .)
This is the latest in a long string of shake-ups from T-Mobile in the past year. Earlier in the week, it dropped prices on its lowest-tier "Simple Starter" plan offering unlimited talk and text and 500MB of data for $40 per month. CEO John Legere has promised at least one more rapid-fire change still to come on Monday, so stay tuned to the boisterous CEO's Twitter handle. (See T-Mobile to Pick Up 'Evil' Family Fees, Sprint Launches No-Sharing 'Framily' Plans, AT&T Lures T-Mobile Subs With $450 Promise, Look Inside T-Mobile's 'Uncarrier' Transformation, T-Mobile Kills Contracts, Launches LTE Network, and T-Mobile Zeros In on Tablets.)
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading