Update: 4G LTE-powered Microsoft Surface 3 launch imminent

Microsoft Surface 3 hero
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Update 7/21/2015 1:10PM: AT&T has released details about how it will offer the Surface 3 LTE. The base, 64GB model will be free with a $30/month plan. There’s also a combo offer for the tablet with a Lumia smartphone for $399. In both cases, the Type Cover and other accessories are extra. AT&T’s offers will launch on Friday.

Original text: When Microsoft revealed the Surface 3 in March of this year, many were roused by the omission of Windows RT, and the tablet’s full-on adoption of Windows 8.1 with x86 software compatibility. Unfortunately, those looking to browse the web on the go were shorted as every variant of the tablet available appeared to be Wi-Fi only.

Now, starting in Japan, Microsoft is releasing a 4G LTE-enabled version of the Surface 3, according to Tom’s Hardware. Mobile broadband service for the tablet is available through Japanese carrier Y!Mobile as the Surface 3 with 4G LTE makes its way to Germany (Deutsche Telekom) and the U.K. (O2) on July 3rd, as well as France (Orange Business Service) and Spain (Movistar) at an undisclosed point in time.

The first shipment of mobile broadband-enabled Surface 3 devices will be available exclusively to businesses and sales groups. Microsoft expects this offer to appeal more to businesses and less to everyday consumers, hence the priority of enterprise buyers. It’s likely that the update will roll out to consumer customers at some point as well.

When the new Surface 3 does retail commercially, it will be available in Germany, France, the U.K., and the U.S. with two models available for purchase. The cheaper one, presumably, will ship with 64GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, while the more expensive unit will hoist 128GB of storage and 4GB of memory. The pricing has yet to be declared for either model of the Surface 3 with 4G LTE.

Given its reputation as a hybrid machine, wielding the powers of both a laptop and a tablet, 4G LTE is just icing on the cake for businesses seeking an inexpensive alternative to the high-end, albeit costly Surface Pro 3. With Windows 8.1 pre-installed, the guarantee of a free upgrade to Windows 10, and now, built-in 4G LTE functionality, this announcement may be just tempting enough to push some indecisive customers over the edge.

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