AT&T has just announced that it will be offering subsidized 4th generation iPads with its tablet plans on a 2-year contract.
The full range of tablet data plan options include:
- AT&T Mobile Share: $10 to share between 1 GB and 20GB
- AT&T DataConnect 250MB: $15 for 250MB
- AT&T DataConnect 3GB: $30 for 3GB
- AT&T DataConnect 5GB: $50 for 5GB
The “Mobile Share” plan allows you to share your phone’s data allowance (as long as you have a 1GB or higher plan, and don’t have an unlimited plan) with an iPad, or other tablet.
This is the first time a US carrier has offered an iPad on subsidy, and it’s really not a very good subsidy for a 2-year contract. The iPhone’s price is subsidized by around $500, whereas you’re only saving $100 on an iPad and you’re getting locked into the same 2-year relationship with AT&T.
9to5Mac‘s Jake Smith pointed out that Apple’s own refurbished 3rd gen iPad prices shave almost $300 off of the WiFi & Cellular models, and you aren’t being roped into a contract. Granted, these are for the last-gen models, but the 3rd generation iPad is still a very capable machine, more capable than the brand new iPad mini in many ways.
Overall this might be a good tactic to rope in people who went into an AT&T store to get their iPad in the first place, but I hope this trend of offering a small subsidy for a 2-year contract does not become a successful tactic for other carriers to emulate.