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T-Mobile to offer free data service for tablets

| Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

T-Mobile will give owners of iPads and other tablet computers free data service for life as part of an effort to broaden its customer base beyond phones.

The free service would be limited to 200 megabytes of high-speed data per month — enough to upload about 800 Instagram photos or listen to more than three hours of streaming music, the company said.

T-Mobile US Inc. said the free service includes no obligations, but the company expects people will want to buy plans for additional data once they grow accustomed to having it.

People typically buy tablet computers that access the Internet using Wi-Fi only. Models with 4G LTE cellular access typically cost $100 to $130 more, but T-Mobile marketing chief Mike Sievert said many people are reluctant to purchase cellular-enabled tablets for fear they would be stuck with monthly data service costs.

By guaranteeing free data service, he said, T-Mobile is hoping to encourage people to buy LTE tablets.

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