update 2: Now T-Mobile says the $10/mo thing was an executional error and the data is truly free for everyone.
Yes. Everyone gets the 200MB of free data. No exceptions. No strings attached.
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) November 1, 2013
update: After speaking with T-Mobile I was informed that the 200MB is only free if you have another data plan with T-Mobile or a phone plan with them. Technically, the 200MB costs $10/month and this $10 is rebated to your account if you have another plan with T-Mobile. The fine print on T-Mobile's website isn't very clear about this. In this case, the free data isn't that great of a deal. You're probably better off buying a wifi version of your tablet of choice (saving yourself $129 on the iPad and $80 for the Nexus 7) and using your T-Mobile phone as a wifi hotspot.
Yesterday, Apple announced two new iPads: the 9.7" iPad Air for $500 and the 7.9" iPad Mini with Retina Display for $400. For the first time, these iPads will be officially available on T-Mobile. If you're interested in a cellular model, make sure you consider T-Mobile, as they may be the best place to buy new iPad for the following two reasons:
Best place to buy new iPads:
- T-Mobile iPads will come with 200MB per month, free for the life of the device (for customers with a T-Mobile phone or data account)
- T-Mobile is offering new iPads for $0 down and 24 monthly payments, which is essentially 0% financing.
200MB isn't a ton of data, but it is plenty enough to check some emails and browse the web. If you're usually on wifi at home and the office it may be enough to hold you over some months.
The 24 monthly payments are the cost of the device divided by 24 with no monthly interest added ($26.25 for the iPad Air and $22.08 for the iPad Mini.) This is a good deal if you don't want to pay the entire sticker price up front. To get this deal you will need to have some type of paid account with T-Mobile, either for a phone or a tablet.
Now the caveats... T-Mobile doesn't have the biggest LTE network in the US - Verizon trumps everyone. T-Mobile is heavily investing in its LTE network, and they also have a very fast HSPA+ network (which is sometimes referred to as 4G.) If T-Mobile has good coverage in your area I wouldn't hesitate to go with them. Check the full list of T-Mobile LTE cities here. And use this Verizon tool to compare the LTE networks of the major carriers.