T-Mobile moved more tablets on iPad Air launch day than entire last quarter

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Earlier this morning, T-Mobile filed its September quarter earnings and announced selling 540,000 iPhones amid iPhone 5s shortages, representing fifteen percent of T-Mobile’s prepaid and MetroPCS-branded devices sold. During an earnings call with Wall Street investors, company executives dropped another interesting factoid: just on the iPad Air launch day this past Friday, the Deutsche Telekom-owned carrier has managed to move more tablets than it’d done throughout the entirety of the prior quarter.

It’s an ambiguous data point which doesn’t reveal much in terms of numbers, nor does it tell us which specific tablet brands moved the needle on the iPad Air launch day. However, it jibes with claims made by other carriers such as AT&T, which yesterday said its Apple tablet activations over the iPad Air launch weekend tripled compared to last Fall’s launch…

Ina Fried, writing for AllThingsD:

T-Mobile said the arrival of the iPad on its network allowed the company to sell more tablets last Friday than it sold during the entire prior quarter.

That’s not really a cold, hard number, but neither is AT&T’s ‘iPad Air activations up 200 percent over last year’s launch’ data point, simply because we don’t exactly know how many iPads AT&T activated on last Fall’s iPad launch weekend.

CEO John Legere shared with Fried he was “very concerned” about the backlash over T-Mobile’s 200MB free deal.

There was a feeling by a small group of people, especially in social media, that it was a bait and switch. I was very concerned.

To his credit, the CEO was quick to admit to making “an executional mistake” which may have unintentionally misled some folks into thinking that everyone gets 200MB of free LTE data, no strings attached.

As iDB explained, the carrier’s initiative basically boils down to new vs. existing customers. Those who bought their iPad on T-Mobile full price – that is, unsubsidized – instantly receive 200MB of free LTE data per month without having to sign up for an additional plan. Likewise, T-Mobile’s paying phone customers can claim the free upgrade anytime.


Conversely, those new to T-Mobile and wishing to buy an iPad with a $0 downpayment are indeed required to activate a $20 per month plan which provides an additional 500MB on top of the free 200MB bucket.

In Layman’s terms, if you want to finance your iPad through T-Mobile and don’t already have their service, you’ll need to sign up for a paid plan.

Again, T-Mobile won’t let you buy an iPad Air with $0 downpayment (monthly installments for the 16GB iPad Air are 24 x $26.25) and get away with free data – you can’t have it both ways.

Despite poor wording, T-Mobile’s offer is an awesome incentive to non-subscribers looking to get introduced to the T-Mobile network without signing on a dotted line.