T-Mobile introduces flexible tablet payment plan

T-Mobile is testing an option that will allow customers to buy a tablet without paying for the entire thing up front.

Instead, consumers who want to buy Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus when it launches on November 16 can elect for what is essentially a payment plan. The option will require a $250 “down payment,” and then a $10 fee will be tacked on to every mobile data bill thereafter until the end of the two-year contract.

When you buy a phone at a discounted rate from a wireless store, the store loses money on that sale. So when you get a $200 iPhone, Verizon is paying more to get that phone from Apple than you are to get it from Verizon. But Verizon makes that money back over time through your mobile service contract.

T-Mobile is taking that exact same idea but making it a bit more transparent to the end user.

“Consumers want a selection of affordable, highly mobile tablets that can deliver the content they want virtually anywhere they go,” T-Mobile VP Jeremy Korst explained in a statement.

The Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus features Android 3.2, a 1.2 GHz processor, 16 GB of internal memory, and both front and rear cameras. It’s a compelling tablet, for sure, and offering it at an accessible $250 out-the-door price is sure to spur sales. This kind of model could even be a beacon for future tablets or other mobile-connected devices like netbooks or laptops.

It will be interesting to see if T-Mobile continues this strategy in the future or if it just a holiday sales ploy.