T-Mobile unveils "free data for life" for iPads - internationally, too

Apple on Tuesday unveiled new iPads that will ship in November. And with them, Apple tipped T-Mobile's hand by noting that they're available as a 4G iPad/iPad mini carrier. What's more, the basic option of 200MB per month is available for free. Now T-Mobile has outlined more details about their new plan.

T-Mobile will carry the iPad Air and iPad mini with Wi-Fi + Cellular in November (it'll also be available from Apple's web site). Every user will get 200 MB for free each month, working over T-Mobile's burgeoning 4G LTE network - and this isn't a limited offer - it's good for as long as you own your iPad, even if you're not a T-Mobile customer anymore.

4G-equipped iPads already cost a $130 premium over Wi-Fi models, but the prospect of incurring another monthly fee for data - or the trouble of adding the iPad to an existing pooled data plan - has held some iPad users back from even considering a 4G-equipped model. T-Mobile is banking on free, lifetime connectivity to give customers an incentive to upgrade.

T-Mobile will offer additional data plans for tablet users, including "Daily Passes" and "Weekly Passes." 500 MB for a day will cost $5; 1 GB per week costs $10. "Always on" plans start at $10 per month for 500 MB; and 2 GB increments from there in $10 chunks.

Last month T-Mobile announced a new no-extra charge data roaming and texting program for its Simple Choice customers traveling internationally in more than 100 countries. Simple Choice iPad customers will also get unlimited data when traveling internationally, at no extra charge.

Apple will sell the new iPads directly, but if you'd prefer to do it through T-Mobile, they'll offer financing plans. They also have announced a trade-in program that will be available at participating T-Mobile retail stores. T-Mobile will also carry certain Android tablets.

Is the promise of free data enough to make you consider spending the extra $130 to get a 4G equipped iPad? Is T-Mobile's service coverage good enough for you to use them? Sound off in the comments!

Peter Cohen