A few weeks ago, Microsoft announced that its Wi-Fi-only Surface 3 tablet was going to get a buddy in the form of a 4G LTE version. Initially, it would be available first to business-related customers before it would be sold to the rest of the public. It seemed like it would take a long time until consumers could get their hands on it, but AT&T took the first step by offering the new tablet starting on July 24.
You can buy the device in two ways: through an installment plan or as a bundle with a smartphone. The installment plan, or as the company likes to call it, the AT&T Tablet Installment plan, will last 20 months. You don't have to pay anything (with the exception of tax) at purchase, and the monthly fee is $30.
On the other hand, the Surface 3 will cost $399 with the purchase of any Lumia smartphone on AT&T's Next plan. With Next, you can choose from one of four plans: a 30 percent down payment divided into 28 installments (upgrade available after 12 installments), 20 installments with an upgrade after 12 installments, 24 installments and an upgrade after 18 installments, and finally, 30 installments with an upgrade after 24 installments.
Even though there is a business-based version of the Surface 3 with 4G LTE available exclusively for business customers, AT&T will also make the consumer version available to business users in the coming weeks. With AT&T getting first dibs on the new device, it's likely only a matter of time until other carriers sell their own plans with the Surface 3.
Update, 7/24/15, 10am PT: As expected, the Surface 3 (LTE) is now available. You can snag one from a Microsoft store, partner retailers and through AT&T. Microsoft is offering unlocked 64 GB (2 GB RAM) and 128 GB (4 GB RAM) versions, but also has T-Mobile and AT&T SIMs available.
Oddly, the buy links at the Microsoft Store online don't seem to be live yet (opens in new tab). If you click either of the LTE versions, you can't see a price, and you have to select the "Email me when available" button. We imagine that will change shortly.