Apple’s 5G iPad Upgrade Gets Rare Subsidy From Wireless Carriers

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Apple Inc.’s wireless carrier partners in the U.S. are offsetting the cost of the iPad Pro’s 5G upgrade, a rare move by the technology giant to encourage consumers to link the new tablets to cellular networks.

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant is selling the new iPad Pro models in both Wi-Fi-only and 5G configurations, and the 5G upgrade costs an additional $200. That’s a steeper price than the $130 up-charge for the 3G and 4G LTE upgrades on earlier models.

Carriers are offering up to $200 back in gift cards to offset the cost, essentially making the upgrade free in some cases, aside from the usual monthly wireless service charges.

On its website, Apple says Verizon Communications Inc., T-Mobile USA Inc. and its Sprint unit will offer $200 reimbursements, while AT&T Inc. will offer $150 back. The carriers previously offered similar deals to spur iPhone 12 upgrades, but the strategy is more unusual for iPads.

The AT&T offer comes in the form of credits to a customer’s monthly bill. Verizon is dangling a digital gift card, while the T-Mobile and Sprint promotions give users a gift card that can be spent wherever like a credit card.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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