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For the first time since the original iPad was released in 2010, a U.S. wireless carrier will subsidize the price of Apple's iPad with a signed two-year agreement, bringing the tablet's sales structure more in line with the iPhone.
AT&T announced on Friday that it will be offering what it calls a "promotional discount" of $100 to customers buying a new tablet, including the new LTE-enabled iPad, attached to a two-year service agreement.
Starting today, customers in the market for a new tablet can take advantage of the subsidy as long as they sign on to a qualifying data plan, which can range from $10 per month to $50 per month. The iPad can also be added to one of the telecom's Mobile Share plans, in which a number of devices share data from a single quota, with plans ranging from 1GB to 20GB per month.
The full range of tablet data plan options include:
- AT&T Mobile Share: $10 to share between 1 GB and 20GB
- AT&T DataConnect 250MB: $15 for 250MB
- AT&T DataConnect 3GB: $30 for 3GB
- AT&T DataConnect 5GB: $50 for 5GB
Unfortunately, legacy unlimited data users are unable to take advantage of the deal.
According to AT&T Chief Marketing Officer David Christopher, the promotion was created to incentivize holiday shopping, however it can be assumed that the launch of Apple's LTE-connected fourth-generation iPad and iPad mini also played a role in the new pricing.
The second-largest U.S. wireless provider has not set an end date for the promotion, and said it will be available as long as supplies last. No indication was given as to how many units of each tablet are being stocked, but interested customers must visit AT&T's online store or a brick-and-mortar outlet to claim the discount.