by Brent Dirks
November 4, 2013
After a less-than-ideal rollout on Friday, T-Mobile’s promise of ‘free’ iPad Air data has finally come into focus. Even though CEO John Legere took to Twitter saying that “Yes. Everyone gets the 200MB of free data. No exceptions. No strings attached.” That’s not exactly the case. If you purchase an iPad Air through a T-Mobile store, and choose to use the company’s finance program - also known as the Equipment Installment Plan - you’re required to add on a 500MB data plan for an extra $20 per month. You’ll then get 200MB "free" for a total of 700MB. That’s even different than what the company offered on Friday and Saturday to users who financed their tablets. On those days, buyers were required to sign up for a $10 a month program that basically gave them the right to access T-Mobile’s network and use the "free" data. The only way to receive an actual free 200MB of data per month is to bring your own, fully paid for iPad Air to the carrier’s network. It’s still a nice deal, but it’s much different that what was originally promised. And speaking with CNET, T-Mobile at least somewhat admitted to its mistakes:
T-Mobile marketing executive Andrew Sherrard confirmed the policy to CNET on Sunday. He noted that not every person qualifies for the equipment installer plan, and that even individuals wanting a smartphone under such a plan have to pass a credit check. He said the company is working to make matters clearer in its communication on its Web site and with its sales staff. "As we roll into this new market, things have been a little bumpy," Sherrard conceded. "It's not as smooth as we would want it to have been."I don’t feel bad for the carrier in the least. Sending out press releases like this, entitled “T-Mobile Un-leashes iPad Air Nov. 1 Starting at $0 Down - with Free Data for Life” were massively confusing to the general public. T-Mobile needed to be upfront and explain that the finacing option and free data were totally different programs. But instead, the company has only upset and confused potential customers. That’s not exactly the best way to grow and become more profitable.