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T-Mobile's new iPads, with free 200MB of data a month, offered at $0 down

The carrier is also starting a tablet trade-in program and confirmed that users would get 200 megabytes of data "free for life."

Apple's new iPad, the iPad Air.
Apple's new iPad, the iPad Air.
James Martin/CNET

T-Mobile's bringing the "Uncarrier" model to Apple's new iPads and other tablets and offering 200 megabytes of free data a month "for life."

Customers can buy an iPad from T-Mobile with no money down and pay in 24 monthly installments. The 16-gigabyte iPad Air, for instance, normally costs $629. Under T-Mobile's offer, a customer would pay $26.25 a month for two years. An iPad Mini with Retina Display would cost $22.08 a month for 24 months. The no-money down option also applies to other tablets such as the Nexus 7.

T-Mobile is hoping that the iPad will bring in new revenue beyond smartphone plans. The company hasn't traditionally been strong with tablets, partially because it has never before sold the iPad. But Wednesday's announcement served as a coming out party of sorts for T-Mobile's tablet push.

It's an attractively priced offer in the short term. The no-money-down offer removes the high upfront cost of a tablet, while the 200 MB of data means users can use the device -- sparingly -- without incurring additional costs. T-Mobile called it an introductory offer, and Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert wouldn't comment on when it may raise the upfront cost.

Any customer with a T-Mobile-compatible tablet can go to a store to sign up -- regardless of whether they are a T-Mobile customer or not.

Like the other carriers, T-Mobile plans to sell the iPad Air on Nov. 1, with the iPad Mini with Retina Display available later that month.

As listed on Apple's site, T-Mobile will offer 200 megabytes of data for free to all tablet users, and people can pay up for more data in plans. For its customers, T-Mobile offers a $10 a month plan for 500MB of LTE data, which would be throttled down to the slower speed after. Non-T-Mobile customers can sign up for the same plan for $20 a month. There are also daily passes that include a $5 plan for 500 MB of 4G LTE data and $10 for 1 GB of data.

The other plans, which cost $30 for 2.5 GB of data a month or $40 for 4.5 GB of data, are roughly in line with the other carriers.

Customers on a regular post-paid plan are able to take their tablets overseas and get free unlimited data, although it is of the slower 2G variety, similar to the international roaming plan T-Mobile unveiled earlier this month.

Lastly, T-Mobile said it would accept trade-ins of tablets, cellular connected or Wi-Fi, in exchange for a discount on a new tablet.

Sprint, meanwhile, touted an offer for 2 GB of data for $15 a month, or double the normal data it usually doles out at that price.

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