AT&T is getting set to offer a US$100 discount on tablet devices, including the LTE iPad, when sold with a two-year data plan contract. This would be the first time an iPad has been subsidized by a carrier, a tactic that has been applied to iPhones and other smartphones for years. Of course, you can also choose to buy the iPad at full price and avoid the contract agreement.
AT&T offering $100 discount on tablets, including the iPad
Up until now, iPads have been sold at full price with data plans being available on a month-to-month basis on all carriers. 9to5Mac reported that beginning Friday, tablets with two-year data plan contracts will make for a second option at AT&T. Sprint and Verizon are still sticking with the month-to-month model at this point.
The discount makes the least expensive LTE iPad (16GB) $529 instead of $629. A two-year contract at $15/month for 250MB of data totals $360, though, so the discount isn't a break-even deal, and AT&T data plans go up to as much as $50/month for 5GB.
If you only need cellular coverage sporadically, you should do your own math. If you already have an AT&T phone, the discount is also available if you add the tablet to a Mobile Share phone plan for an additional $10/month.
This offer applies to not just the iPad, but to all tablets sold by AT&T including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9, Pantech Element, and HTC Jetstream, some of which are only showing as refurbished units at the moment.