T-Mobile knows that the easiest way to get new customers is to give away your service for free, and it's handing access out like so much candy with its new 4G Connect strategy. Similar to what we've seen for Chromebooks, the deal supplies 200MB of free data every month for up to two years, right out of the box. Those who need more than casual email checks on the road just need to pay T-Mobile's prepaid rates to keep the broadband going. The Dell Inspiron 14z and HP Pavilion dm1 are the only devices available for now that qualify for the 4G Connect plan, but more are lined up for 2013, including (but not exclusively) devices with Qualcomm's Gobi chipsets in PCs or its Snapdragon chips in Windows RT tablets. T-Mobile tells us that we won't have to hunt down specific Magenta models, either -- once a PC line includes 4G Connect, every American variant should carry the needed modem as a matter of course.
We had the opportunity to try a Pavilion dm1 with 4G Connect, and it's clear that T-Mobile is largely letting the PC builder take priority. The hardware is very much vanilla on the outside. Most of what you'll notice, apart from reasonably fast HSPA+ data when you're away from WiFi, is a custom T-Mobile app. Both a Live Tile and the full app will show usage; diving in shows everything in a simple not-Metro layout with extra options for SMS messaging and topping up when the bandwidth runs low. Apart from having to register the PC in the first place, the service is as simple as we'd care to see. Now, where's our LTE connection?
T-Mobile Changes the Rules With 4G Connect, a Breakthrough Program Designed to Make 4G Connectivity Easier Than Ever
The game-changing 4G Connect program brings free 4G connectivity to Windows 8 laptops, Windows RT tablets, Ultrabooks™ and more by leveraging T-Mobile's fast, dependable nationwide 4G network
LAS VEGAS - Jan. 8, 2013 - Today, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), T-Mobile USA, Inc., announced 4G Connect, an innovative program that breaks away from the wireless industry and provides customers with value and choice on more devices than ever before. 4G Connect is a breakthrough program designed to make 4G connectivity a standard, integrated and free feature on select notebooks, tablets and Ultrabooks™. Through 4G Connect, consumers who purchase these devices will be able to easily access the Internet out-of-the box, through a high-speed connection via T-Mobile's fast and dependable nationwide 4G network - all with no extra equipment, annual contracts or commitments.
"At T-Mobile, we continue to bring game-changing programs to market and believe that 4G connectivity should be a standard, simple solution on any mobile computing device, including notebooks. Our goal is to make sure customers have a 'walk out working' experience and not be constrained to Wi-Fi to have a data connection," said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile USA. "The revolutionary 4G Connect program is an innovative, industry-first experience that makes it easier than ever for customers to get that data access solution right out-of-the-box at no extra cost, and in retail environments where they already shop for these devices: national retail stores and online."
Wireless data usage is on the rise, and more people are turning to 4G-connected devices when Wi-Fi is not available. Often, consumers have had to invest in additional equipment and service plans, on top of device costs, to access data, which can be cumbersome and costly. With 4G Connect, T-Mobile is bringing consumers an easy and valuable connected experience and business model: a free 4G solution that's easier than Wi-Fi.
The 4G Connect program is also a great way to introduce new customers to T-Mobile's nationwide 4G network, which is available in 229 markets, reaching well over 220 million people. In addition, with the always-on connectivity features of Windows 8, only T-Mobile is providing customers with a free nationwide 4G option for a fantastic Windows experience.
The first devices supporting 4G Connect include select Windows 8 notebooks and Ultrabooks from Dell and HP, including the HP Pavilion dm1 and Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook. The HP Pavilion dm1is currently available at HP.com and Target. The Dell Inspiron 14z is available at Dell.com. Qualcomm Technologies Inc. is a leading technology provider helping deliver the 4G Connect service and experience. Look for more Qualcomm Gobi-enabled devices as well as Windows RT devices powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon being added to the 4G Connect program in 2013.
Device pricing varies; all-in costs for a device with the free connectivity begin at less than $500. Depending on which device is selected, customers can take advantage of up to 200 MB of free data per month for up to two years. Users who require additional data capacity can take advantage of T-Mobile's flexible no annual contract passes, which start as low as $10 per GB and can be purchased whenever consumers need additional data. Customers can also purchase monthly or annual contracts if they want larger amounts of data for longer periods of time.
4G Connect is for any customer who purchases a supported device, not just T-Mobile customers, and will introduce all to T-Mobile's nationwide 4G network. In addition, with the always-on connectivity features of Windows 8, only T-Mobile is providing customers with a free nationwide 4G option for an always-connected Windows experience.
"By enabling the HP Pavilion dm1 with two years of service through T-Mobile's 4G Connect program, we're making sure that our customers enjoy a simple, easy computing experience. We're working with T-Mobile to make 4G connectivity an integral part of our ultramobile products," said Todd Achilles, vice president of mobility at HP.
"Qualcomm is pleased to be working with T-Mobile and supporting its innovative 4G Connect program to ensure that consumers using mobile devices with Qualcomm Snapdragon processors and Qualcomm Gobi modems have access to T-Mobile's 4G network virtually wherever they are," said Luis Pineda, senior vice president of product management, Qualcomm. "This will uphold our objective to bring great performance and battery life to T-Mobile's Windows RT devices."
T-Mobile will continue to grow the program, working with additional OEMs and retail outlets to provide 4G Connect on a broader range of devices to consumers in 2013.