questionsdoes anyone know if the sony tablet p requires a…

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WiFi only is fine. You can also do pre paid with them.

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The locking to AT&T means that it accepts a GSM sim card for 3G data plans and only those from AT&T will work. You will not be able to use T-Mobile service on it.

Whether it requires a contract or not may depend on where you purchase it and for what price. Sometimes if you pay full retail price for phones or tablets, you do not need to have a contract; however, if your wireless provider subsidizes the price of the device by giving you a discount on it, they usually do require a contract -- normally 2 years.