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AT&T kills on-contract pricing for tablets, effective today

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Starting today, tablets sold from AT&T will only be available without a contract, mimicking a move made by Verizon last month.

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Subsidized pricing for tablets has never made much sense — saving $100 upfront in exchange for getting locked in to a very expensive data plan isn't what we'd call a good deal — and now AT&T is getting rid of the option for good. Two AT&T store representatives have told us that effective today, all tablets are available solely at their no-commitment (read: unsubsidized) rates. Of course, the change isn't too meaningful at the moment: iPads have always been sold contract-free, and the only other tablets available from AT&T's website are the Pantech Element and the HTC Jetstream.

AT&T's move today comes just over a month after Verizon Wireless made a similar decision to make all of its tablets and netbooks only available contract-free. We've heard that the change comes as a result of AT&T's upcoming Mobile Share plans, which allow users to attach tablets onto their pool of data for $10 more per month. If you're avoiding AT&T's shared data plans, however, you'll want to know that the carrier's data pricing for tablets is now $5 per month less since customers will no longer be paying off subsidies. As shown on AT&T's website, that leaves you with 250MB for $14.99, 3GB for $30, and 5GB for $50. We've reached out to AT&T for more information on the policy change and will update this post when we hear back.