T-Mobile: zero-down tablet financing does require a paid service plan

by: Andrew GrushNovember 5, 2013


Last month, T-Mobile revealed its latest “uncarrier” move, bringing 200MB of free data to all tablets compatible with T-Mobile’s network. While 200MB might not be a lot, it’s still a pretty good deal for folks that occasionally want to check an email or browse the web from their tablet.

Even better than just offering free data for tablets, T-Mobile ensured that the free offer applies to devices bought outside of their network as well.

The good news is that T-Mobile was true to its word. If you buy a tablet in full from T-Mobile or bring an existing fully owned tablet to T-Mobile, you get 200MB of free data without ANY paid plans or other commitment to the uncarrier. Where things get more confusing is when it comes to the T-Mobile’s zero-down financing.

Apparently some folks thought that the free data plan applied to new customer financing as well.  As it turns out, financing requires you to have some form of paid service from T-Mobile.

That means if you want to get 200MB free tablet data and pay for the tablet through T-Mobile’s zero down offer, you will either need an existing phone plan or you will have to get one of T-Mobile’s paid plans — which start at $20 for 500MB of high-speed access. The 200MB will then be added to your tablet’s paid data plan.

If you want free data with no commitment to T-Mobile at all, you will need to bring your own tablet or buy a tablet from T-Mobile outright with no financing. We can’t say we blame T-Mobile either, after all the free data offer is really about attracting new customers. They do have a business to run after all.

  • Brandon Miller

    Makes sense. I have no problem with this really.

  • Seth Forbus

    Not seeing an issue here either. Free data on a tablet without paying for a phone seems silly.

  • raul

    i ask if 200 mb free data can also be international, or when I’m abroad, for example in mexico.


    hmm i wonder if my MetroPCS plan will also be applied since they’re merging anyways…

  • Mike Kister

    Financing would have been easier to take but buying outright is still doable. I wanted to try this to ONE: upgrade to a Nexus tablet and TWO: to check out TM coverage in my area with buying a TM phone (N5) in mind.