T-Mobile no longer offering new Free Data for Life tablet activations


UPDATE: T-Mobile sent me the following statement on the end of Free Data for Life:

“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.”


ORIGINAL: 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.

I reached out to T-Mobile for more information on why the Free Data for Life program has come to an end, but I haven’t yet received a response. If I do, I’ll be sure to update this post.

The Free Data for Life program was attractive because it let you get a bit of cellular data on your tablet every month, even if you weren’t a T-Mobile customer. This was nice for people that were ultra-light tablet data users, and it gave customers of other carriers a taste of T-Mo. The good news is that at least anyone that signed up before May 7 can still get their free data every 30 days, so long as they own their tablet.

Did you ever take advantage of T-Mobile’s Free Data for Life program?

Thanks, James!

Source: T-Mobile

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  • Willie D

    And so they continue – removing Uncarrier features. This was part of Uncarrier 3.5 announced with Simple Global Uncarrier 3.0

    • (J²)

      Uncarrier 3 was 4 years ago. It’s a promotion that enticed customers to give the magenta brand a try – Not only that but also persuade them to purchase a 4G/LTE-enabled tablet which is a problem for carriers as 4G/LTE tablets are more expensive and often times cannot be justified over their Wi-Fi only counterparts.

      Plus, this was a prepaid only promotion. It hasn’t been advised for over a year and has been unavailable to postpaid subscribers.

      • theicehog

        It’s bee available to post paid customers. A simple call into care was all that needed to be done. They removed it from the stores because reps would move the line to MI on Demand and then activate a new Mobile Internet line.

        • (J²)

          Not true. If you call customer care anytime within the last year they should have explained that the promotion has ended BUT since it is still in their system, certain teams are able to apply select expired promotions.

          Also, store representatives are on the same level as customer care agents and supervisors who are very limited on what they can and cannot do.

          I actually had to fight T-Mobile in January due to an idiot Customer Care rep. removing all my promotions and since the promotion had expired, it had to be re-added by the business support team via an escalation.

          Again, I reiterate the promotion has quietly expired for postpaid customers for some time now. This announcement officially announces the promo being expired across the network (postpaid and prepaid).

          That means, even in my situation (listed above), T-Mobile may be unable to access this promotion now.

          In case you didn’t know 5GB Data Match for $10 also quietly expired and then became a prepaid only promotion for a short run before being removed entirely from the backend. I had this promotion and T-Mobile was not able to recover it.

          This comes from the T-Mobile Executive Relations Team at T-Mobile Corporate Office.

        • theicehog

          Literally moved a postpaid customer over to MI on Demand 2 weeks ago……. Trust me I know what I was talking about. For the record as well Care has so many more tools available to them than the store does therefore care and retail are not on the same level.

        • (J²)

          For the record, they DO NOT. They escalate issues to the Loyalty Department and Solution Center.

          Congratulations! That means you applied a promotion that has expired to a customers line. Again, as I stated… IT CAN BE DONE… But T-Mobile SHOULD be communicating that the promotion has expired but clearly all levels of T-Mobile are not on the same page now are they?

          On Demand Data also doesn’t automatically include 200MB for free. There’s a lot of internal confusion. The plan is simply a place holder. The Free Data for Life promotion still has to be applied via a flag on the account.

    • Andrew Singleton

      After 4 years working at TMO, not 1 person has asked for this.

    • Mike

      What do u expect with TMO spending a lot of money to buy Spectrum and the addition of millions of new TMO customers. There are still a lot of freebies and perks thru TMO tomorrow is Tuesday.

  • I’ve got mine, and have had it for at least 2 years or so I think.

  • SurvivingSunnyvale

    Wasn’t it killed a while ago?

    I remember a friend going to a store last year looking for it.

    • Anthony S Jennings

      I’m unsure if it had become unavailable in certain new tablets over time, but since it was launched, Free Data for Life was always the default option for me in new cellular iPads. Since you can have multiple simultaneous plans in a cellular iPad using Apple SIM (or embedded Apple SIM), I always signed my iPad up first with Free Data for Life, then bought T-Mobile day passes or other carrier options. I guess I won’t be ditching this iPad anytime soon [angry crisis averted].

    • (J²)

      It wasn’t advertised and you had to activate the SIM card through the tablet directly and that results in a prepaid line being created. So in short, it was not available to postpaid customers.

  • llamaluvr

    I did use this for a few years. We had a Simple Choice family plan for two lines, with a Free Data for Life added on for my tablet (it shows up as a $10 charge with a $10 credit for having a phone line). Earlier this year, my wife went to Project Fi. T-Mobile kept charging me for the whole $80 family plan. I tried to go down to the single line, but couldn’t because Simple Choice was dead. So instead I got transferred over to a $40 prepaid plan. My old account stuck around because of my “free” data for life. But now I was being charged $10/ month for it because there was no associated phone line. I kept asking if I could be transferred over to free data for life, but got nowhere, so I just cancelled it. T-Mobile’s constant sunsetting of rate plans makes changing anything on your account a year or two later a real pain.

  • RustyShackleford716

    It was a nice option as a Simple choice customer you got 200mbps free and you only had to finance the iPad.

  • H Kirsch

    When I got free tablet, I had to change out SIM card. Just checked email and I’m still getting free 200mb. I don’t use often because I don’t want to go over. I just use tethering with my phone since its unlimited

    • Sharti24

      You pay the extra $25 a month for unlimited tethering?

      • H Kirsch

        Good question. I don’t pay the bill. Its a family thing, but last time there was a questionable expense, he called me before he challenged the charge. Now I feel I need to call him and ask

    • achusaysblessyou

      There’s no charges if you go over, you just stop getting data?

      • marque2

        They did something similar with tethering on prepaid plans. After 200 Meg’s, it would just stop and if you were on a w b browser would get a TMo page with advice to purchase another plan, or “recharge” the phone early if you still want data.

  • Sharti24

    They need to bring back “test drive” (uncarrier 5.0) you get to try out tmobiles network with a phone that they provide you with no obligation on switching, that would be a hit.

    • Corey Jalette

      I think it ended because Apple pulled out. Apple was the one supplying all those free phones to try out and they have to sell them as refurbished after they get them back.

      • Acdc1a

        Without offending Apple fans, the iPhone is the worst possible phone to let people test drive the network. I really tried to use the 6S Plus but I can’t tell you how many places there would be little or no reception when other phones worked just fine. Get the complaint from my friends with the 7 all the time too.

  • James Wagner

    Love my T MOBILE

  • Bruce Wayne

    Lol. 200mb. What a joke.

    • matt

      A bigger joke is AT&T charges fifteen dollars a month for 250 mb. Maybe AT&T should give it away. Give all those people who were stupid enough to buy a PlayStation vita a taste of cellular data. Then the cellular vita wouldn’t of died.

      • Bruce Wayne

        The American mobile data industry is in a sad state.

        • Jay Holm

          Isn’t the U.S. market one of the few places where people have unlimited high speed data?

        • Bruce Wayne

          Certainly not. For most carriers, once you reach a certain threshold (usually vague or defined), you’re throttled or “deprioritized”.

        • Jay Holm

          Nope, screw all that talk. I usually use 80-100gb/mo. There’s NO reason to spend $600-900 on a smartphone and not USE it. And no, I don’t get throttled. High speed data all 30 days. I work 3 night shifts a week, I get speeds anywhere from 50mbps all the way up to 200+Mbps.

        • Bruce Wayne

          Whatever you say, man.

        • Mike

          T-mobile only deprioritize a customer if the network is congested and you have used 28gb or more. ATT and Verizon can & will throttle you no matter what after 22 GB of usage.

        • Corey Jalette

          They actually upped it to 30gb for tmobile now. Was 28gb. And all the other carriers have the same deprioritization as tmobile does. Though I see Verizon and att being alot more strict about it.

        • Acdc1a


        • Phone Guy

          Yea, last month T-Mobile kicked that number up to 30. Not a big change though.

        • Phone Guy

          Its either 20, 22, or 30 depending on the Carrier. T-Mobile just raised it to 30, most are somewhere around 22, and one is about 20.

        • Acdc1a

          No. The UK, Germany, France, Japan just to name a few.

        • marque2

          Yes, but that is in the same sense that you have “free healthcare” in Cuba.

        • Acdc1a

          NO! It’s a direct result of having more than 3 national carriers. Are you stoned?

        • Jason Caprio

          I beg to differ. Do some research on the prices of mobile data in Canada.

        • Acdc1a

          Canada is what happens when you allow unlimited mergers.

        • Bruce Wayne

          With the state Canada is in, I don’t even consider it a market.

  • Joshua P.

    When I switched to T-Mobile one a couple weeks ago and added my fiance they actually had me cancel my free data line, it’s not compatible with tmo one apparently

    • Reagan1

      That is correct. Cancelled mine a few months ago for Tmo One promo. Not a big deal as I hardly used the minimal 200mb and mostly just tethered to my phone. With 10gb of tether now, really kinda useless.

    • Sam Schultz

      Just for clarity tmo one is tax inclusive and all plans on an account mobile internet and voice must have the same tax treatments. The free data plan does not have taxes included therefore if someone wants to one tax included you must remove those lines or switch to a modern plan aka tmo one tablet or some tax included mi plan 2gb or higher.

    • Al William

      I do have Tmo One on both phone and tablet, but yesterday I just got a text reminder on my tablet that says “You’ve used 80% of your 200MB free T-mobile high-speed Mobile Internet Plan”.

    • JG

      I’m assuming the rep was attempting to up-sell you and get you to fork over an extra $20/month to get the tablets unlimited data.

      While the free data plan might not be compatible with T-Mobile One plans, you could have kept the free data plan by setting it up as a separate account.

      I have a T-Mobile One account for our phones and two separate accounts, with just a tablet each. I wasn’t even offered to add the tablet lines to my phone account. They just had me “buy” (for free) two new SIMs without adding any new lines to my account. I put them in the tablets, turned off WiFi and opened a browser. Got to a T-Mobile landing page and entered my email address and that auto-generated a totally separate account for the tablet.

      If your so motivated, it might be worth getting in touch with T-Mobile’s customer service department. They might be able to retroactively reactivate the data lines for you or something…

  • JG

    Will I be able to put the SIM into a different tablet and continue to get 200MB/month [that’s all I had to do to transfer my phone plan to my newly upgrade phone recently]? Or is there some other way to transfer the plan from one tablet to another?

    My Nexus 9 is showing its age and if Google releases a new tablet this year I’d like to jump on it.

    Of course, Google may not release an LTE version (the Pixel C is WiFi only), and even if they do, I hardly use any of the data I’m getting now, so I wouldn’t miss out on much* and the WiFi only version would likely be $100 or so less expensive…

    *Unless…. Does the plan include access to Music Freedom & Binge On? If it does, and YouTube TV gets included… It could be useful I suppose… Though with focus on unlimited data plans, I doubt Music Freedom & Binge On will last much longer themselves…

    • Sam Schultz

      You are able to carry service via that line and sim to any device that is supportive of T-Mobile network. 6gb or higher is required for binge on and music freedom.

      • JG

        Thanks. Wasn’t sure if the free data was transferable or not. The article made it sound as though it wasn’t:

        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.

        I can keep it with my Nexus 9 no problem… But what about a Pixel 9 (or whatever Google calls it)… It’s not that tablet anymore…

        • Sam Schultz

          It goes with the line not the device.

  • Jay Holm

    I still can’t believe there was everrrrrrrrrrrr a time in history when 200mb’s was considered a lot,. . .in one day, forget about 30, sheez.

    Why do people even have smartphones and tablets if 200mb’s is a “lot”???

    • John

      It certainly was not a lot in 2013 and for them to say it was is a crock. However, when I got in on the deal, it was/is kind of nice to supplement my other data bucket.

    • tehboogieman

      I loved it. They wouldn’t let me keep it after I switched to the One plan. I basically used it for IMs or to turn on tethering on my phone remotely which is great for free

      • Phone Guy

        I kept it when I switched to the One plan. They moved it to a prepaid –basically another account, and I was able to keep it, just not on my one plan

        • tehboogieman

          I wish I had known that when I signed up. Fortunately I activated it as an unlimited line and lowered my bill, but it would have been nice to still have the free line.

    • dtam

      it was a lot for being completely free

  • Timothy Poplaski

    Damn, it’s a shame they killed it. It was perfect for “find my iPad/Android”.

  • Philip

    200MB is puny. My 14GB hotspot, doesnt that say alot more? Why kill puny?

  • Adam Thodey

    They should have just modified the program for current customers… so that if you have one plan with T-Mobile, whether it is a voice line or a mobile internet line, you should be able to get the 200MB for life plan on any other mobile internet device… I think it’s helpful if you don’t want to pay and have to look something up real quick, or get email.. I know 200MB isn’t a lot now, but to do a quick email check, or get directions on google maps or other mapping apps is helpful. and was a great uncarrier move by T-Mobile. it should be kept.. they may want to modify the program slightly, but if it was me, I’d still stick with the uncarrier move. no other carrier is doing it… and it is an on ramp to get a paid data plan on your mobile device… So if you start small, and then you use more, you just sign up on a plan for the month (for example, your iPad, you use the 200MB but need more, you can sign up real quick on T-Mobile from the iPad General settings menu selection and off you go with more data in no time.. and if you continue to do that, you may as well sign up for a plan… so I think in terms of marketing it was a good on ramp to get customers.. so maybe it lost its value in that respect but it was a good uncarrier move.

    • AP Mustard

      You can get free data each month from freedompop with the ability to buy more as you need it. They activate Sprint Devices and AT&T devices for LTE service.

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  • David Muhs

    I got it on my Verizon iPad 4, but I never use it.

  • A2theC

    I tried to get on the program with BYOD but instead the put me on an “On demand” line which I can’t remove now

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