Snippet: T-Mobile’s Free Data for Life Ends ☇

Shared on May 9, 2017

Alex Wagner for TmoNews:

A few years ago, T-Mobile launched Free Data for Life as part of Un-carrier 3.0, giving tablet owners 200MB of free cellular data every month. Fast-forward to today and it looks like that program has been quietly killed.

T-Mobile has updated its Free Data for Life support page to say that the program is no longer available for new activations as of May 7, 2017. Anyone that signed up for Free Data for Life on or before May 6 can keep it with that tablet as long as they own the device.

T-Mobile’s official explanation was later posted:

When we launched Free Data For Life in 2013, 200MB of high-speed data was a lot. Today, customers want unlimited and we’re all in with T-Mobile ONE. Customers who have T-Mobile ONE can add unlimited LTE data on a tablet for just $20 a month with autopay.

Nothing changes for current customers with Free Data For Life on a Tablet. They can keep it as long as they like.

I always thought this was a neat promotion—a bit of data for anyone with a cellular-capable tablet and a way to test out T-Mobile’s network. As most users with this service were prepaid users, it also ensured that you’d keep a T-Mobile SIM in your iPad and throw a few bucks their way when traveling. The nice thing about it is that the account and everything was always active.

Unfortunately, in a case of poor timing, I just had my iPad replaced under warranty, and T-Mobile ties the Free Data for Life SIMs to the original device’s IMEI. In any other device, nothing works except T-Mobile’s sites and account management. The other side-effect is that any purchased data gets used after the 200MB, which doesn’t work in the replacement device. Therefore, even after reaching out to T-Mobile and emphasizing that it’s not an issue with my device, the solution is to buy a new SIM card and set up an entirely new account. Recently, T-Mobile SIMs have been pulled from most retailers, so the only official way is to pick a new one up from the company, either online or from a retail store.

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