T-Mobile Father’s Day Deal Is a Sneaky Lure for Old-Timers

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If you converse with folks over age of 50, chances are you’ve heard the following argument at least once: What do I need a smartphone for?

On Saturday, in honor of Father’s Day, T-Mobile will make it really easy to come up with an answer. For one day, the wireless carrier will offer one year of free data to anyone who signs up for a qualifying voice, text and data plan. The offer provides 200 MB of data per month.

Subscribers who want higher data tiers get a $10 deduction from their monthly bills instead. The deal is also available for mobile broadband devices, such as hotspots and tablets.

The idea, I imagine, is to get smartphone newbies hooked, because as anyone who owns a smartphone knows, once you’ve got e-mail, GPS navigation and the Internet in your pocket, there’s no going back.

But note the fine print: T-Mobile’s free data offer isn’t really free. To get the smartphone data deal, customers must sign up for unlimited talk and text messages, which is $10 per month more expensive than a plan with 500 voice minutes. And of course, a two-year agreement is required, so while the first year of data is on the house, Dad’s on the hook for year two. If he only needs 500 minutes per month, he’ll actually save $120 over two years by refusing T-Mobile’s offer and getting a 200 MB plan with limited minutes.

And with that, Dad can learn his first lesson about the smartphone business: Somewhere, there’s always a gotcha.

More on TIME.com:

Techland Recommends Father’s Day Gifts for $50 (or Less!)

Is Apple’s $649 No-Contract, ‘Unlocked’ iPhone Worth It?

The 10 Most Popular iPhone Passwords, Starring ‘1234’

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