T-Mobile plans to shake up tablet data plans in Twitter event

New tablets, including iPad Air, focus on constant connections via LTE and other cellular networks

T-Mobile's "Un-carrier" initiative to shake up the wireless industry continues Wednesday with a press event via Twitter related in some way to how tablets are sold and serviced.

The carrier said CEO John Legere and other officials will answer questions live via Twitter on @TMobile with the hashtag #unleashthetablet starting at 9 a.m. PT (noon ET).

T-Mobile hinted in a statement that "only T-Mobile can offer tablets to consumers in a highly disruptive Un-carrier way."

T-Mobile officials also told Computerworld that the initiative will affect business customers as well as consumers.

T-Mobile is likely to change its tablet data service plans, which currently range from $20 a month for 500 MB to $70 for 10.5 GB. Given earlier Un-carrier announcements related to smartphones, T-Mobile could be announcing unlimited tablet data at a set price, or a tablet trade-in program. On Oct. 9, T-Mobile announced free unlimited data and text in 115 countries for customers on its Simple Choice plan.

About 80% of all tablets run only over Wi-Fi, but carriers are prepping ways to induce their mobile customers to pay monthly service fees to be constantly connected via LTE and other fast networks even while waiting on the sidewalk for a cab or otherwise outside of a Wi-Fi hotspot. Nokia made the point on Tuesday that its new Lumia 2520 tablet, selling for $499 later this year, will include LTE to help customers stay consistently connected almost anywhere.

Apple's new iPad Air tablet, announced Tuesday, will start at $499 for a Wi-Fi only version or $629 for a cellular version, with "more LTE bands than ever," according to the Apple Web site.

More LTE bands on different frequencies enable tablet usage in more places. Even the Wi-Fi-only iPad Air has two antennas instead of one in earlier versions and Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) antenna technology, delivering up to twice the Wi-Fi speeds, Apple said.

This article, T-Mobile plans to shake up tablet data plans in Twitter event , was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

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