Microsoft said Monday that it will begin shipping a version of the Surface 2 tablet with LTE connectivity embedded inside of it for $679, beginning Tuesday. AT&T will supply the LTE technology. It will be up to the customer to sign up for one of AT&T’s available plans, a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email. Apparently, there are no discounts or bundling deals.
Microsoft normally charges $549 for the 64GB, Wi-Fi version of the Surface 2, which translates into a 23-percent markup for integrated LTE, as opposed to simply tethering a smartphone via Bluetooth or using a Wi-Fi connection. Users can buy the new tablet either from Microsoft directly or via Best Buy, Microsoft said.
The big catch, of course, is that you’ll need an AT&T micro-SIM: the tablet supports LTE bands 4, 7 and 17, along with 3G UTMS (bands 1, 2 and 5) and regular old GSM (800/900/1800/1900MHz). In theory, that also means you should be able to get away with using a T-Mobile SIM, since T-Mobile also uses LTE 4 and 1900MHz 3G. T-Mo isn’t officially supported, though, so don’t expect anything in the way of possible bug fixes or performance enhancements. Either way, what’s nice is that even with the LTE, the tablet promises the same battery life (up to 10 hours) and basically weighs the same as it did before.