iPad 2 Wi-Fi And 3G Data Plan Pricing And Options

Now that we know the iPad 2 will be able to get 3G service from both AT&T and Verizon as well as a few other options, there may be people wondering which is the best choice for them and what the pricing is.  Here is a guide to help you with that decision.

iPad 2 Data Plan Pricing And Options

iPad 2 Data Plan Pricing

You might be trying to choose which iPad 2 to get but you don’t know all of the options for connecting to 3G services.  You might have heard about AT&T, Verizon, and something called a “personal hotspot” but you want to make the best financial choice so here are your iPad 2 3G connectivity pricing and options.

Here is a PDF of all the iPad 2 3G Data plans you can download to follow along with all your options and use it as a worksheet.

iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G Connectivity Pricing

If you will be getting an iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G then you have several options for cellular data pricing.

  • Signing up for 3G data from AT&T
  • Signing up for 3G data from Verizon
  • Using your phone as a personal hotspot

Choose your iPad by carrier.

If you decide on an iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G, be sure to select the model that corresponds with the carrier you’d like to use for 3G service. The iPad model you purchase is specially configured to work with either AT&T or Verizon — not both. So while you don’t have to activate 3G service right away, you should choose your iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G according to the carrier you prefer.

When you decide to activate 3G data service, you can choose the amount of data per month you want to buy — with no long-term contract. So if you have a business trip or vacation approaching, just sign up for the month you’ll be traveling and cancel when you get back.

Option 1: AT&T

AT&T just announced new iPad 2 pricing so read on.  Previously, AT&T claimed a slight edge because it could sell an iPad with direct access to its wireless service. And Verizon customers had to use the MiFi option.  Here are the monthly iPad 2 data plan pricing options from AT&T:

  • $14.99 – 250 megabytes
  • $25.00 – 2 gigabytes
  • Postpaid option

The postpaid option AT&T just introduced is an option in which you can receive regular AT&T bills for your data usage.  There is no contract with this option as there is with their metered plans.  AT&T customers on a postpaid plan are charged $10 per 1 gigabyte of data after they go over their initial limit (see above). In contrast, prepaid customers who go over their limit are required to buy an additional 2 gigabytes of data access for $25.

Update: AT&T confirms they will allows “unlimited” data plans to be ported over to iPad 2 if you still have one of the original data plans.

Option 2: Verizon

Verizon’s iPad 2 data plans are completely different.  For one thing you do not need a contract for any of their plans so they are all postpaid options.  Here are the monthly iPad 2 data plan pricing options from Verizon:

  • $20 – 1 gigabyte
  • $35 – 3 gigabytes
  • $50 – 5 gigabytes
  • $80 – 10 gigabytes

The general iPad 2 data plan pricing is pretty straightforward but here is where things get sticky: when you exceed your monthly data limit.

AT&T and Verizon also differ on how they treat customers who exceed their monthly data limits, a plausible risk given the media-consuming capabilities of the iPad 2. For instance, an hour of music a day for a month will get someone to the 1-gigabyte mark, while 35 minutes of streaming video a day for a month will get someone to the 2-gigabyte threshold.

AT&T customers on a postpaid plan are charged $10 per 1 gigabyte of data after they go over their initial limit. Prepaid customers who go over their limit are required to buy an additional 2 gigabytes of data access for $25.

Verizon Wireless customers who pay for 3 gigabytes of data or more will have to pay $10 for 1 gigabyte of data once they go over. For the entry level option, customers will have to pay $20 for the 1 gigabyte of data.

AT&T vs Verizon iPad 2 Data Plans

So let’s take a hypothetical scenario.  Let’s say you choose to go with the monthly AT&T iPad 2 data plan of $25 for 2 gigabytes and you actually use 4 gigabytes (and this is very possible).  You would pay $25 + $25 = $50.  Now let’s say this same thing happens and you are on the postpaid AT&T iPad 2 data plan.  Your bill will be $25 + $20 (overage of 2 gb) = $45.   In this scenario the postpaid option fits you better.

Now let’s say you choose to go with Verizon’s iPad 2 data plan.  And you do the $20 for 1 gigabyte but you actually use the same 4 gigabytes.  In this case you would pay $20 + $60 (overage) = $80. Ouch.  But let’s say you actually choose the $35 at 3 gigabytes and you use 4 gb, this means you only get charged $10 over so you are at the same price as the AT&T postpaid option.

The verdict here is that the the new AT&T postpaid option may actually be more kind on your wallet and it is about the same as Verizon when you choose Verizon’s iPad 2 data plan of $35/month.

Other 3G Data Plan Considerations: AT&T Vs Verizon

Beyond the costs there are also some other considerations you might want to think about when it comes to the iPad 2 3G data plans and Verizon vs AT&T

Not All 3G Is The Same

The Verizon network uses CDMA and they are pretty much tapped out for growth right.  Verizon is focusing on 4G which will offer greater speeds of up to 8-12MB. This will also require a 4G iPad.  AT&T on the other hand has a GSM 3G network and they are still expanding with slated speeds of up to 8MB.

If you are going to be looking for a long-term solution then AT&T is the better choice here because they seem the best bet as far as sticking with 3G and just making it faster.

Traveling The World

If you travel around the world then you will definitely have a much better experience with AT&T’s GSM 3G.  Verizon’s CDMA is not as available around the world.  However, one thing to keep in mind is roaming charges.  Carriers will charge you up to $1 per MB (yes, MB) and that means checking a single website or your Email could cost you a lot of money.

In truth, it’s probably just best to plan on using Wi-Fi if you are traveling to other countries since Wi-Fi is pretty much Universal.

3G Network Coverage

Each company claims better coverage. The coverage is always changing and the best thing to do is check their most current coverage map.  Here are those maps:

iPad 2 Wi-Fi Tethering Pricing

Everything above covers the data plan pricing if you were to get an iPad 2 with 3G.  If you do not have the iPad 2 with 3G and you choose, instead, to go with the Wi-Fi only option then you can still use 3G provided you have the ability to do what is called “tethering” or a personal hotspot.

A personal hotspot means that your cell phone to provide 3G internet service to your iPad 2.  The way it works is that your iPad can connect to your phone via the Wi-Fi connection and once they are “paired up” then your iPad 2 uses the 3G Internet that your phone uses.  Cool huh?  Well, before getting too excited, guess what?  It costs money.

With iOS 4.3 your iPhone 4 will be able to act as a personal hotspot for your iPad 2.  If you are an AT&T customer, this will cost you $45/month for their 4GB tethering plan.  (funny how we arrive at the same $45 for 4 gb of data).  Basically this comes from the fact that if you already have the $25 plan for your iPhone, they add an additional $20 for 2GB more data + tethering.  AT&T has confirmed that the tethering plans are not on contract so  you can cancel at any time or start it back up at any time.

The Verizon iPhone 4 hotspot plan will cost you an additional $20/month on top of your monthly data plan as well. So it looks like both carriers are making tethering cost an additional $20.

Sprint also offers a hotspot you can use with your EVO phone and your iPad 2 for $29.99 per month (for non iPhone 4 users).  Whichever phone you have and whichever provider you have, make sure you ask what their prices are for the “tethering” or personal hotspot plans.

iPad 2 Data Plan Pricing Conclusion

It’s pretty clear that if you are going to use anything other than Wi-Fi, you will be paying money.  The question is, which is the better option for you.

It appears that for those using very little 3G services, then AT&T is actually the best option.  If you are truly a light user, that is.  If you are a moderate user and feel you will go over 250 megabytes (which is VERY EASY to do in about 3 days) then Verizon’s $20 plan is perfect.  For heavier users or those that use a lot of 3G, then Verizon definitely offers more options and better pricing overall.

But when you look at all of this in context of tethering, or a personal hotspot, then that surely seems the best direction to go.  It’s only $20 more per month and they add it do your current bill so you don’t have to separate accounts to deal with.  The other benefit is that it does give you more data per month for your phone so if you happen to not use your iPad with the tethered 3G much that month then you would essentially end up with more for your phone.  To me, this is a win-win.

Additionally, if AT&T or Verizon were to upgrade their data networks and you wanted to take advantage of that higher speed then you would just need a different phone and by tethering, your iPad would take advantage of that – thus not needing a new iPad as well.

iPad 2 Data Plan Pricing Summary

If all of the above was a bit confusing (and it sure can be), then here is a final summarized version:

The iPad options:

1. An iPad with 3G + WiFi

This option means that you need to choose a 3G plan because you have the 3G iPad. Now you have two providers to choose from: Verizon or AT&T. Both have differing costs, coverage, plans, and options but AT&T (IMO) is the best. (see above for why).

2. An iPad with Wi-Fi Only

Your only option here is to use “tethering” for 3G connectivity. Now you have to look again at the various providers. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint all offer it. With AT&T and Verizon, it will cost an additional $20/month for tethering. This is on top of what you already pay for data. Sprint costs $29.99 for tethering.  One thing to keep in mind is that tethering lets you connect several devices at once. So your phone becomes a little hub.

If you have no data plan on your phone currently, then you will need a data plan and that depends entirely on your phone. Without iOS or Android, there may be no option since the smart phones are about the only ones that can offer up tethering.  This means a phone upgrade and purchasing your data plan + tethering.

Comments

  1. Nice, thanks, Shane!

    It looks like the Verizon 20 buck plan is right for my wife. A couple of questions of clarification:

    1. To get the postpaid $10 per Gig, you also have to pay the prepaid 14.99 250 MB plan? That seems odd to me. Is it like you’re signing up for insurance in case you go over? I guess what I am saying is, is the price higher for going over if you aren’t signed up to be billed postpaid

    2. Since you didn’t mention it, I am assuming that there is no longer the Verizon plan where purchase the mifi and can run multiple dievices off of that. Is that so?

    3. Finally, I am sure you mentioned it before, but there is an app or two that keeps track of your usage for you, right?

    1. Shane says:

      Ha! I got pretty detailed in that article Eric but the more I dove into it the more I felt like it was necessary to help others learn the “whole picture”.

      #1 – the $10 postpaid per gig is not extra – it’s a given when you are on that specific plan. So basically you are already paying $14.99 and because you are postpaid then you have to pay $10 (extra) for each 1 gigabyte you go over…on the prepaid plan…they automatically upgrade you to the next plan which in the case of the $14.99 plan would be the $25 so you pay an extra $10 that month for essentially going up to 2GB….that sounds confusing huh? Basically…on the post paid, anything over your data plan is $10 per gig. On the prepaid..you are upgraded to the next plan unless you already have the 2GB plan in which they tack on an extra $25 for 2 more GB….

      #2 – there was no mention of the MiFi on Verizon’s site for iPad 2 but I am guessing that’s because the mifi is not needed with iOS 4.3′s hot spot capability

      #3 – Yeah, there are a few apps and I’m gonna do an article about them but the ones that exist now are kind of lower quality…I hear verizon is actually coming out with their own :) (and charging for it) !!!!

  2. Tom Mansu says:

    Another option for people to remember is use your phone as a hotspot and buy the cheaper wi-fi only iPad.

    1. Shane says:

      Hi Tom….yes although with this option you still have to pay for “tethering” or the ability to do the hotspot which for AT&T is $45/month and for Verizon it’s $20/month and none of these are “unlimited” data…

      1. Joel says:

        Shane
        If I have a Verizon tethering plan already for my laptop and blackberry, do I need a second tethering plan for my Verizon Ipad2 if I want to tether it?

        1. Shane says:

          Hi Joel,

          I think Verizon is deciding that now – but my guess and my sincere hope is that they let you use your current tethering plan…because I can’t imagine that it’s anything special for the iPad!

          1. Joel says:

            Thanks. Now a different question.
            I have many photos saved in JPEG and Raw on an external drive for my PC. Will I be able to transfer the JPEG photos to my iPad2? If yes…then how?

  3. Joe says:

    While this is an article about pricing, another key difference that might be worth noting is that the AT&T network is GSM while the Verizon one is CDMA. So the AT&T iPad will have a sim card, and the verizon one will most likely not. If you travel internationally, and hope to use your iPad pretty much anywhere other than the US…ATT is likely the better choice.

    1. Shane says:

      Joe,
      Thank you very much! I really appreciate that and I remember thinking I was going to add that information in but hit publish and forgot, so thank you!!!! If you don’t mind, could I put this comment in the article?

  4. Uh, oh, I justbthought of something else…I know that you have to choose the model based on who you are going to get 3G from and that AT&T works internationally, but do I also have to consider whose 3G is going to be faster?

    I have heard that the Verizon iPhones are much slower.

    1. Shane says:

      Hi Eric – great question….

      You will definitely have to consider a few things:

      Coverage (who has the most)
      Speed (who’s is faster)
      Pricing (what’s the best value)

      I’m going to update my post to include some of this as best I can find…so look back in just a bit

    2. Shane says:

      I updated the post eric to include a ton more information and at the end of the day…I conclude that just getting tethering is the best overall option…

      1. Ok, Shane, this is getting pretty complicated for me and my wife is depending on me to make the right decision for her–and the 11th is coming up fast…

        Let me ask you this: I understand what you are saying about tethering, but what if you have no data a plan at all on your phone right now? Can my wife just add data to her Verizon phone and tether off that? It is not a multimedia phone running iOS or android. I am thinking not, huh?

        1. Shane says:

          Eric –

          Sorry….yeah, I should probably try to do some sort of of summary or chart…it really is kind of complicated…here is the most basic:

          The iPad options:

          1. An iPad with 3G + WiFi

          This option means that you need to choose a 3G plan because you have the 3G iPad. Now you have two providers to choose from: verizon or AT&T. Both have differing costs, coverage, plans, and options but AT&T (IMO) is the best.

          2. An iPad with Wi-Fi Only

          Your only option here is to use “tethering”. Now you have to look again at the various providers. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint all offer it. With AT&T and Verizon, it will cost an additional $20/month for tethering. This is on top of what you already pay for data. Sprint costs $29.99.

          If you have NO data already, then yes, you will need a data plan and that depends entirely on your phone. Without iOS or Android, there may be no option since the smart phones are about the only ones that can offer up tethering.

          Since it sounds like she doesn’t have a smart phone with iOS or Android then you will have to choose to get her a new phone (with a data plan + tethering data plan) or spend the extra money on the iPad 3G.

          I hope that helped a little???

          1. Thanks, that sure did, Shane. Yeah, I have an iPad INSTEAD OF the smart phone with the forever need of the extra cost of a data plan. In fact, my getting the iPad came down to that very thing: get a smart phone or get an iPad. Thanks a lot!

  5. El huerquillo says:

    Darn it!! I was one of the first persons who bought an iPad 1 and I didn’t get the freaking unlimited data plan when I had the chance!! because I was waiting for my iPhone contract to end, after waiting for three months to cancel my iPhone contract with AT&T I found out that AT&T changed their unlimited data plan for a limited 2 GB plan arrrrrrrrg that was a dirty move AT&T!! I got so angry!! Since I’m a heavy user!! With the unlimited data plan I used to use up to 13 GB a month!! With out worries!!! Now thanks to this dirty move from AT&T I have to be very careful now and not watch freaking videos or they will drain my data in about 5 days!! I had the hope that verizon would offer an unlimited data plan so I can move with them for the new iPad 2 but unfortunately for me and many other heavy data users they didn’t!!! They even have worse and more expensive plans!! Could you imagine paying around $162.00 dollars for the same data that we use to used with the 29.99 unlimited data plan that’s so unfair!! I wanna build a community of iPad users who disagree with this data plans and show AT&T, apple and now verizon that we want the unlimited data plans back by not buying the iPad 2! If you are planning to buy an ipad 2 but you dont like the data plans offered by both companies AT&T and Verizon show your support by not buying an iPad 2 until they change their actual data plans!! Btw I wrote this comment from my iPad 1

    1. Shane says:

      I am with you. I’m gonna deal with the same thing and I know for a fact that I use way more than a measly 2gb of data. Here’s the good news…if there is any. Perhaps with both AT&T and verizon competing the pricing will stay low or one of them will bring back unlimited data….but I highly doubt it. We are all trained now to need data plans…

  6. El huerquillo says:

    Darn it!! I was one of the first persons who bought an iPad 1 and I didn’t get the freaking unlimited data plan when I had the chance!! because I was waiting for my iPhone contract to end, after waiting for three months to cancel my iPhone contract with AT&T I found out that AT&T changed their unlimited data plan for a limited 2 GB plan arrrrrrrrg that was a dirty move AT&T!! I got so angry!! Since I’m a heavy user!! With the unlimited data plan I used to use up to 13 GB a month!! With out worries!!! Now thanks to this dirty move from AT&T I have to be very careful now and not watch freaking videos or they will drain my data in about 5 days!! I had the hope that verizon would offer an unlimited data plan so I can move with them for the new iPad 2 but unfortunately for me and many other heavy data users they didn’t!!! They even have worse and more expensive plans!! Could you imagine paying around $162.00 dollars for the same data that we use to used with the 29.99 unlimited data plan that’s so unfair!! I wanna build a community of iPad users who disagree with this data plans and show AT&T, apple and now verizon that we want the unlimited data plans back by not buying the iPad 2! If you are planning to buy an ipad 2 but you dont like the data plans offered by both companies AT&T and Verizon show your support by not buying an iPad 2 until they change their actual data plans!! Btw I wrote this comment from my iPad 1 heeeeey

  7. pat says:

    If you choose the tethering option, do you have to contract for it, or can you turn it on for a month at a time?

    1. Shane says:

      Pat. That’s a super question…I will find out. My best guess is no you don’t since you already have a data plan for the phone and this is just an “add on”

      1. pat says:

        I talked to ATT and they said that tethering can be turned on for a month at a time.

        1. Shane says:

          YEAH!!!! Yeah, I saw that today and was going to add it to the post…this is great news so that you are not locked into a contract! Thanks Pat!

  8. jeffrey maynard says:

    I am dropping Verizon march 11 and get Sprint everything data plan for $69.99 for my smartphone and for $30 more buy Sprint Hot Spot and get on your I pad 2 for $30 a month Unlimited Data. 4 of my friends do that now on there I pad 1. Sprint will be getting alot of bussiness now. For $30 you get unlimited data plan with Hot Spot. Hope this help you all.
    Jeff

    1. Shane says:

      Jeff. Thank you. I had heard from one other person on sprint and I was amazed they still had unlimited data. I’m with you, a lot of people may start switching once they see their data bills increase.

      1. El huerquillo says:

        Yes! I’m going to sprint today, to ask about Their unlimited data plans! Although my main inquiry is if they have as good coverage as AT&T and Verizon, I also must add that in the California Area where I live AT&T signal is terrible 2 lines out of 5 is the best signal I usually get….right now while I’m writing this comment my iPad signal is 1 line out of 5 terrible signal!

        1. Shane says:

          I looked at sprint and they definite have unlimited data. I would love to know too what their coverage is like but I do wish they had the iPhone!!!!

  9. Ed says:

    Just be careful when making the switch to Sprint. Their 3g data speeds are extremely slow compared to the other carriers. In addition, their 4G coverage is limited and expansion of it has come to a standstill. If you want the best bang for your buck, I recommend using Sprint’s Virgin Mobile and the LG Optimus V phone. The plans can’t be beat with unlimited text messaging and unlimited data. You can download Quicksettings from the Android Marketplace and get free hotspot to use with the iPad for the times you are without wi-fi.

    1. Shane says:

      Ed thanks a million. This is incredible information. I was not aware of the slow speeds on sprint. But I wonder why their 4g cane to a standstill. That seems odd since verizon is supposedly building theirs out….I’m going to look into the virgin mobile option too.

      1. Donald says:

        Great article Shane! I’ve been banging my head against the wall trying to find the best one that suits my needs. It’s been so stressful because once you buy the ATT or Verizon iPad you are stuck with it!

        A friend of mine turned me onto Virgin’s mobile mifi option as someone else mentioned. They are on Spint’s network. Offer 100 megs for $10 bucks but you can get a 1gig for $20 only if you buy it through Walmart! They do have an unlimited plan for $40 a month but they throttle you after 5 gigs and from what I read the service gets so slow after that it’s not worth using.

        I plan on traveling a lot this summer by car all over the midwest and not sure if I should get an iPad 2 with 3G or wifi and use the Virgin mifi (I don’t have a smart phone and don’t want one). I’m so confused so any help you could give would be great!!!!

        1. Shane says:

          Hey there Donald. Thanks a ton for the comment!

          Well – I checked on that MiFi and you are right, it definitely does give a lot of data…on their site it’s actually $50 for unlimited data but with no contract. So if you do not have a smart phone, then you would have to buy the MiFi for $149 and then add the monthly charge.

          If you went with the 3G iPad, you will pay more for the 3G model, and then you will have a charge per month with either AT&T or Verizon….since you are traveling around by car, the changes of using WiFi networks are kind of slim so I’m guessing 3G is going to be very important….for that same $50/month on Verizon you get 5GB.

          So if you think about it…the Mifi at $149 vs paying more for the 3G iPad is kind of a wash. Then, you will end up spending at least $50/month on data because no matter what, it’s really hard to stay under 1 or 2 GB in a single month.

          I also looked on the Virgin mobile website and their coverage is pretty good as long as you are near a major city (or close).

          The one other thing to consider here is the resale value….let’s say you want to get the iPad 3 one day and sell your current iPad 2…the 3G model will bring you more value.

          I like the MiFi option really well because it seems you get more flexibility, but when you compare it to the 3G service….it’s about the same cost…

          And not to throw another decision in there, but I also hear Verizon is moving toward 4G and LTE so they are slowly leaving their 3G services behind…very slowly though so you would be ok.

          I guess my conclusion (after all of that) is that both the Virgin MiFi and the Verizon 3G cost the same…I would look at both coverage maps to make sure you are covered though….

          p.s. if you go with MiFi, you can also use it for more than just the iPad and you can also keep it and use it with your next iPad, so that might be a consideration too…

          i hope that helped???

          1. Donald says:

            Yeah, buying a mifi or paying extra for 3G is a wash, I agree. Here’s the thing on resale value. What if Verizon in the future goes 4G leaving behind the 3G network then my Verizon iPad is worth less right? Or Verizon offers unlimited plans and AT&T does not then my AT&T iPad is worth less when reselling. It’s all a huge headache.

            You’re right in that the Verizon 5 gig and the Virgin mifi unlimited throttled at 5 gigs is the same price and like I said, users say once you are throttled the service is worthless so again… a wash.

            I think the 1gig is more for I’m on vacation for a week and need limited access and the unlimited is more for I’m traveling for the whole month kind of thing. Another thing about the mifi is that if a new 4G iPad comes out, I won’t need to replace the iPad… just the $150 mifi device right? In theory I guess.

            And you are right, the mifi can be used with ANY wifi device just not the iPad….. arghhhhh. So many options and they are all basically the same when you boil them all down. Thanks for helping me pick the lesser of evils here.

            1. Shane says:

              Yeah I agree. It’s all kind of a wash at the end of the day…but Im going with the wifi only model and I’ll add 3G later. Once I do that…I might just try the mifi. All I can say for sure is that when you total up your total Internet costs at home and now mobile….it’s crazy!!!!

              1. Ed says:

                Skip the mifi and go with the Virgin Mobile Android LG Optimus V phone. It’s less expensive and offers the same unlimited data. It also gives you the advantage of having the use of an Android OS in addition to Apple’s on the iPad.

                The only question that I have is what size iPad to go with. This is my first one. I’m thinking the 32GB wi-fi model in black.

                1. Shane says:

                  Ed. This is awesome info. Thanks a ton. I’m going to update this post ASAP. I agree. Skip the midi and go on virgin mobile’s plan….

    2. Roger says:

      Be doubtful of any claims that one carrier’s networks is slower than another – the original poster claims Sprint’s 3G network is slow (although ironically then recommends using it via Virgin Mobile).

      Network speed is highly dependent upon your location – see the PC World article (http://www.pcworld.com/article/167391/a_day_in_the_life_of_3g.html) comparing the different carriers at different places – depends where you are – Sprint has the best download speeds in the West, Verizon elsewhere, AT&T has the best upload speeds (less important) but the worst reliability. Net, net Your mileage will vary extensively based upon where you use your card.

      The shame is the iPad doesn’t have 4G – My Sprint Epic 4G has 4G and it’s blazing fast (although coverage is obviously more limited than 3G)

      One thing not mentioned in AT&T’s favor is you get free WI-FI connectivity with their plans (although most of the free hot spots are Starbucks – thought you got free WIFI no matter what from Starbucks). Also only the 3G phone has GPS – might be a big deal

      1. Shane says:

        Roger,
        Thanks for the reminder on the speeds…..I think I also got that from PC Mag in my research and they were saying that the Sprint 3G speeds were generally slower but you are right, it’s very subjective to location, traffic, etc. In regards to the 4G, the Virgin mobile and Time Warner are 4G I believe so if you use their MiFi, then effectively you are getting 4G speeds via the iPad – indirectly, not directly.

  10. Ameano says:

    Hello, thanks for the great review. I have couple questions if you don’t mind.

    1. If I don’t use the whole 2gb in a month, can I use left overs next month or is going to reset?

    2. What 2gb means in terms of how much video we can watch, website we can see, how many text we can send, or how long we can talk on face time or skype, and also I know there some apps on Itouch that you can convert your Itouch to a phone by simply downloading the app. I wonder if that is also going to be used in Ipad. If yes, how much data they are going to use?

    3. Does the GPS on 3g uses the data or it is free? I heard if you get the Ipad 2 3g version you can use the GPS on the go without having 3g data plan, but not on the Ipad 2 WIFi only version. Do you know if it Is true or not?

    Many thanks :)

  11. Juliano Barbosa says:

    Hello Shane,

    My question is, do you think you get the same quality (speed) 3g when you’re tethering over your phone as you would by getting it directly through the iPad????

    Thanks,

    1. El huerquillo says:

      Yep, you’ll get the same quality 3G speed as long as you don’t use more than one device at a time on the same network… so have this in mind, the more devices you connect the slowest the network will get… But since you’ll connect only your iPad the quality and speed should be the same.

  12. Bill says:

    Isn’t there a pay as you by usage at $15/250MB, you can start and stop anytime?

    Also does the iPad2 have the chip which recieves HSPA+ signals, the faster 3G AT&T has already deployed.

    1. Shane says:

      Hi Bill,

      The iPad 2 has a chip which receives the following:

      UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

      So yeah, definitely the higher speed 3G :-)

      The $14.99 plan on AT&T you do get 250MB and yeah, you can start and stop it at any time….I stopped mine and then started it again shortly after but there is no contract per se.

  13. Erik says:

    How do you initiate the AT&T postpaid deal? Are there fees you have to pay to sign up? What if you cancel for a couple of months and then start up again – are there fees again?

    1. Shane says:

      Hi Erik,

      When you get your 3G iPad, there is a sign up form right there on the iPad – it’s in in the settings….and it’s called “Cellular Data”. At that point….it shows you what AT&T is currently offering such as prepaid, postpaid, and any fees/costs. When i signed up there were NO fees nor was there any penalties for canceling a few months later…

  14. Robert says:

    If you have the original Iphone ATT Unlimited Data plan, will you be able to purchase a tether plan without changing your iPhone data plan? Or are they connected? I want to purchase the ipad 2 wi-fi only and then tether when needed to my iphone 4. But I do not want to drop the benefit of having the unlimited data plan from ATT for my iphone 4. Is this going to be possible?

    1. Shane says:

      Robert,
      From what I’ve heard, you can definitely keep your unlimited plan as that is “grandfathered” in…adding that tethering might change things though since it never was “unlimited”. My guess is that AT&T will ether put you on a metered plan and you will lose your “unlimited” or they will simply just limit the tethered portion (yet, I don’t know how they would even achieve that)

  15. [...] reference, you might want to consult the helpful pdf someone named Shane at TC Geeks has created. I’ve pasted a screen shot below that should open full size on a separate tab if [...]

  16. Crimson says:

    Apple Insider is suggesting that Verizon will also charge a $35 activation fee on top of the first months rate (whichever you choose.) Not only that, but its also rumored that if you don’t keep the service from month to month (say you buy it one month, then take a 3 month break from the 3g service) you’ll be charged the $35 activation fee AGAIN when you decide to start the 3g again. Has any of this been confirmed? If this is true, I won’t be buying the Verizon version even though I enjoy their 3g coverage more….

    1. Shane says:

      Hi There Crimson. I looked on the Verizon site to get confirmation of this but it’s nowhere to be found….I would have to guess that they will want to be competitive with AT&T and if AT&T is not charging this and I know they aren’t, then it would not do Verizon very well to start charging this as they would quickly lose customers. I am going to keep an eye on this because people need to know it ASAP before they get their device.

      1. Donald says:

        I called the Verizon store today and asked the sales rep and he indeed said that there is a $35 dollar activation fee. Not sure if this is a one time thing or every three months. It really didn’t sit well with me and I may not chose Verizon for this. I’m so tired of the nickle and diming.

        1. Shane says:

          Donald…thanks a ton for letting me know. I’ll edit the post in bold!!! This is becoming a little crazy with all the fees and the worst part? No one will tell you until you activate!

          1. Donald says:

            He could be right or could be misinformed… I’m hoping for the latter. Because I was going to go with the Verizon 3G model, I’ve decided to wait through the weekend and read user stories from people who have both before making my final decision. This cost too much to go in blind.

            1. Shane says:

              That’s a great idea Donald…but it’s not the first time I’ve heard this now….let’s hope it’s not true

  17. JD says:

    Not sure if anyone is still checking this post and your attached chart, but it appears that if you go with the 250mb postpaid plan, you actually pay another $14.99 per every 250mb you go over, not $10 per 1G. That seems to be how I read it. http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/devices/ipad.jsp

    1. Shane says:

      Hey there john,

      You are correct but there are actually two options…a post paid and a prepaid. If you are on their brand new prepaid plan, then it IS only $10/1Gig over your rate…but on the postpaid, you are correct, it is another $14.99.

  18. Joe says:

    Virgin mobile has a personal MiFi solution that after buying the personal hotspot for 5 devices ($140), monthly service prepaid is $40 for unlimited service. The 3G depends on location, but overall it works when you don’t have WiFi. Warner cable has a similar offer with 4G unlimited monthly service contract or prepaid. The MiFi device is $249. The service is $49, and again it’s unlimited. They have a monthly service contract charged to your cable bill as well.

    1. Shane says:

      Joe. Wow, thanks for the info. Especially on Warner. I didn’t even know they had a 4g plan!! So it seems like there are at least a few more options than simply just going with AT&T or Verizon. I might do a separate post because I know people are confused!!!

  19. Ed says:

    Just to clarify a couple of things. Although, I maintain Sprint has the lowest data speeds of the major networks, they are generally acceptable. It is true that Virgin Mobile is owned by Sprint and uses their network, but the Virgin Mobile “Beyond Talk” plan beats them all with plans starting at $25 per month for 300 minutes talk, unlimited text and unlimited data. The plan I am on is $40 per month for 1200 minutes, unlimited text and unlimited data. To take advantage of these plans, I am not talking about Mi-Fi, but their Android phones including the latest, the LG Optimus V ($149.99 retail) phone. You just have to enable the hotspot feature in the phone that allows you to tether it to other devices. Examples of this feature are on Youtube. Trust me, it works!

    1. Shane says:

      Ed. So are you saying that you have the $40 plan and get unlimited data plus hotspot??? Wow!!! If that’s true I’m definitely looking into this.

      1. Ed says:

        Yes, I switched weeks ago from Sprint using the HTC Evo and their Everything data mobile to mobile plan which was costing me $69.99 a month and an extra $10 for the Premium Smartphone fee they added along with taxes and fees totaling about $90 a month. I was averaging about 800 minutes of actual total talk time a month. Seeing that Sprint’s prepaid service Virgin Mobile offered what I needed for $40 with taxes and fees included (using a Top Up card via Callingmart.com), I then downloaded the Quicksettings app from the Android Marketplace (shown on youtube) and now use my phone’s hotspot to supply data to my laptop and ipod touch with no problems. If you don’t need that many minutes or are primarily just interested in the unlimited data, you can go with the $25 plan.

    2. Donald says:

      Ed, I looked this up and it sounds great if it works. $25 is a wonderful price but I can’t find any videos of someone actually using an iPad with it and how the speeds are when browsing the web from the iPad. This may be a new solution.

        1. Donald says:

          Too bad the LG Optimus V is sold out EVERYWHERE!!!!

          1. Shane says:

            I know!!! I’m looking too….a good thing spreads fast these days :-)

            1. Huh, I just read (on cnet) that the Optimus V does not have hotspot tethering. ???

          2. Not sold out everywhere!

            just bought the optima on best buy website. Picking it up at my local store when I get back in town.

            My wife was totally burned out on all the options (in addition to not getting an ipad2) so she plans on going with the Verizon 3 g 16G. My contract has been up with Verizon, so thought I would use it for a hotspot with my iPad wifi. It is on sale there for 129. since there is no contract, I can always go back to Verizon whenever I wnant.

            1. Shane says:

              Eric – Awesome! Will you let me know how it works?

  20. Ameano says:

    I went to At&t yesterday and thay told me that they might come with new data plans for Ipad during or after the lunch of Ipad.

  21. W M ONiell says:

    Would this work well with at&t hotspot / you didn’t cover this way to connect. I want to do a gps better than the current small old tomtom I currently use. Any suggestions

    1. Shane says:

      Hi there. Yeah it should work fine as long as the AT&T one is just a wireless hotspot device which I was not aware they had…but if they do then it would work great!!!

  22. Michael says:

    Just bought the 32G AT&T iPad yesterday at AT&T, and made the mistake of getting the $25/mo rate plan with the one month free trial. Decided to cancel and just use the pay-as-you-go option, but after 3 hours of phone time with AT&T reps, tech support, and Apple Care, ended up with a deactivated account now requiring a trip to the AT&T store for a new SIM card. Appears that if the carrier cancels your initial service plan, this renders your device unable to access 3G on a pay as needed option. Would have been nice to hear this from AT&T before the sale.

    1. Shane says:

      Hi there Michael,

      Wow. This sounds not only horrible but like a scam. So after you canceled, you had to deal with the whole SIM issue? Thanks for the update and sorry you had to deal with all this…sounds like there are going to be some unhappy people with AT&T….

      1. Michael says:

        Confirmed. Took the iPad back to an AT&T store, where they switched out the SIM and returned it to working order. No way around this issue – is you purchase the $25 /month plan at the store, if you decide to cancel you must go back to A T & T and get them to replace the SIM card because once they cancel the plan, the device is non-functioning except for wifi. Buyer beware!

        1. Shane says:

          Thanks Michael – what a pain. I still don’t know why they have to make you come in and deal with the SIM card issue though…in my mind, they should be able to simply reassign it a unique identifier but I guess that’s not how SIM cards work :)

  23. Madison mullens says:

    If I have a smartphone with an unlimited data plan,can I just use that data plan instead of getting a new one and having to pay two sets of $30?

    1. Shane says:

      Hi Madison,

      Absolutely – but you have to make sure your provider allows tethering or “hotspots”. A lot of them do not and require that you purchase the ability to do it…however..with an unlimited plan you may be completely ok…the best thing is to try it – do you know if your phone allows tethering?

      1. Madison says:

        I’m not real sure but I could call and ask. Do you think that whenever you would like to get on your iPad you can take the sim card out of your phone and put it in it, and whenever you would like to get on your phone just put the sim card back in your phone? Or would that mess up your data plan?

        1. Shane says:

          Hi there,
          One thing I don’t know is if you can swap the sim’s from iPhone to iPad because I do believe the SIM’s are actually tied to the device you are using…so that might be an issue. What would happen is you would put the SIM in there and it would not recognize it and would put up an error message.

  24. Tom says:

    Does anyone know if you can use the Iphone 4 (AT&T) “HotSpot,” overseas? My understanding is that by going with the 3G (AT&T) model I will have the ability to swap sim cards out with an overseas carrier due to the GSM compatibility. However, if I am looking to purchase a WIFI only version and use my Iphone 4 to tether the Ipad and possibly another device; can this still be done overseas by switching the phones sim card to an overseas provider and still provide tethering via Iphone? Also, does anyone have any knowledge with regards to the pricing of overseas providers in both a 3G sim option for ipad 3G ready and/or 3G sim with Iphone 4 tethering option? Currently, I am debating between the Ipad 2 Wifi or 3G/Wifi version. I travel domestic and international quite frequently and like anyone else, I’m trying to make the best decision, (options & financially) that I can out of this confusing and complicated mess.

    1. Shane says:

      Hi Tom.
      Well I looked everywhere I could and found nothing about the overseas ability or prices. Assuming you just swap the sim cards then I would think they will charge roaming rates which are expensive. But one thing to keep in mind is that most places overseas are pretty good about having wifi.

      What I’m finding is that the best price options are using mifi devices and services with the iPad. The 3G services from AT&T just seem way too expensive and Verizon at least offers more data plans.

      Virgin Mobile mifi seems to be one of the best plans but I have no idea regarding their international rates.

      1. Tom says:

        Thanks for the speedy reply. Part of me just really wants to get the Wifi version in a 32 or 64Gb (Still deciding on size too). I just don’t want to pay for something ($130 extra), if I don’t need it. While I’m sure 3G will still be around for quite some time, I am also looking to the future and wondering just how resale would be affected in a non 3G market, and etc. It seems to me if I just use Wifi and tether (if the need ever arises), I may be better off. If faster and different networks come out then this does not affect the Ipad wifi; only the tethering device (Iphone or Mifi, etc.). Thanks again.

  25. Ed says:

    Alright guys, here’s a quick youtube video of me using my LG Optimus V and the Quicksettings app downloaded from Android Market. I enable the hotspot and use the data for my new iPad 2. I think it’s perfect for browsing the web, checking e-mail and various apps. As far as streaming video, it really is going to depend on your location and how strong your 3G signal is.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0dChek_s3Y

  26. Ed says:

    Shane, I just posted a video on youtube of me using the LG Optimus V with the iPad 2. Check it out. Just search LG Optimus V and under search options select upload date to find it.

    1. Shane says:

      Ed. Thanks a ton for doing that. I really appreciate it!!!!!

    2. Shane says:

      Ed. Thanks a ton. I really appreciate it!!!

  27. jeffrey says:

    Buy the HTC Verizon Thunderbolt for $250 , $50 extra to cover the 2 months free UNLIMITED data HOTSPOT there giving you.
    With the ThunderBolt by HTC, customers will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan and a 4G LTE data package. Nationwide Talk plans begin at $39.99 monthly access and an unlimited 4G LTE data plan is $29.99 monthly access.

    Mobile Hotspot allows users to connect up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices to the nation’s fastest wireless network via an application available on the ThunderBolt by HTC. Mobile Hotspot will be included through May 15 for no additional charge. After May 15, customers may choose to activate Mobile Hotspot for $20 for 2 GB of data per month. Customers can track their data usage by downloading the My Verizon app available in Android Market or by logging on to their My Verizon accounts online at http://www.verizonwireless.com/myverizon.

  28. Pamela says:

    Hello Shane,
    Thank you for this great article. I could sure use some advice. I am starting a business that connects individual nursing home residents with their long-distance family members through video calls. These are seniors that cannot negotiate technology so I have to oversee the connection. I was thinking of using an iPad2 with 3-G because not all nursing homes have wireless.

    My other option is to use my laptop, because I could then use Skype.

    Is it true that if I used an iPad2 that the remote family member would also have to use a Mac device to connect? What if they have an IBM with Skype?

    I hope this isn’t too off the subject. I appreciate any advice you can offer.

    Pamela

    1. Pamela says:

      I forgot to mention, I do not need the iPad2 for anything other than video (this is mostly local so I won’t be travelling much), so if there is a cheaper alternative I would prefer that. I just thought the iPad2 would be nice for the seniors to hold in their hands to talk, rather than a bulky laptop.

      Thanks!

      1. Shane says:

        Hi there Pamela – It’s totally ok to ask this here as I try to answer all my comments so no worries.

        It sounds like you want to do a really great thing and I’ve always imagined iPad’s being perfect in nursing homes – not just for video calls but there are some great games and educational benefits that could really lift their spirits – - plus of all the devices out there, the iPad is probably the most simple one to use.

        So, with Facetime on the iPad 2, it will work great over data connections but it does require that the other party have one of the following: iPhone, iPad, or a Mac. It would not work going to an IBM or any other type of PC.

        On the other side of the coin, you can put skype on the iPad but it does not do video calling. In this case, it would have to be some sort of PC with a webcam and then Skype.

        I will say from experience that using Facetime is probably the least challenging of all options. You basically click the name of someone and it starts a video call. That’s it. And with the ability to now show it on a large screen, it’s like having a really big video conference :)

        I hope that was helpful?

        1. Pamela says:

          Hi Shane,
          Thanks for your feedback! Yes, simple is best for these seniors who are not in the best of health. I don’t own an Apple product but I know from experience they are the masters of intuitive products. Skype I think is awful confusing to use.

          Unfortunately most of the family members will have PC’s however. Would you suggest I carry my laptop and an iPad2 so I can connect both ways? And if so, how would I do so without paying double the wi-fi connection fees? Is there a device that will provide a wireless signal to both?

          Great website by the way. I subscribed to your RSS feed with the Google reader which I use.

          Pamela

  29. Wow. I am a fan. Your blog is so complete, accurate and honest. Thank you very much for all the time and energy it took for you to research and write.

    1. Shane says:

      Thank You Brettani — I really appreciate that and I’m glad you stopped by and found the site :)

  30. Pam says:

    Shane,

    Thank You for this blog!! Thank You, Thank You!!

    The summarizing is great. I must admit though, after reading the comments I started getting confused again.

    I have the iPhone 4 with AT&T as my carrier. With my phone, my data plan is unlimited.

    I have been considering ordering the iPad 2, but deciding between the 3G+WiFi or WiFi only has slowed me down in making a decision. I was speaking with a friend who got the tethering plan for her iPhone 4, but she barely uses 1G of her data plan. If I did not restrain myself, even with the unlimited plan I am sure I would go over 2G. Now, I suspect if I got the iPad, I would easily go over 2G.

    My issue is, if I went to the Wifi only version I believe you are saying I could get a data plan for the iPad and get a tethering plan for an additionaly $20, but would that make financial sense since I already have a data plan with my iPhone 4? See this is where I am getting confused.

    Note, though, I really do not want to depart from my unlimited data plan on my phone.

    Thanks

    Shane

    1. Pam says:

      Ok – I think I rid myself of my own confusion.

      There is no “data plan” for the wifi version. If I were to get the wifi version I could either give up my unlimited data plan and get the tethering plan for my phone or buy a tethering device, leaving me with an additional device to carry, but allowing me to keep my unlimited data plan for my phone.

      Am I correct?

    2. Shane says:

      Hi there Pam – thank you so much….it is a bit confusing and the carriers have not done the best job of making this any easier :)

      For AT&T and tethering, what they do is charge you $25 for their “Data Pro” plan (so this would add an additional $25 to your bill). This gives you that 2GB of data for the tethering of your iPad. You may still have the unlimited data on the phone itself (i think) but for the tethering and the iPad….it will only give you the 2GB…

      I am not sure how many people are actually staying under 2GB…I know with the iPad, I could not do that and so I’m seeing more and more people switch providers for mobile data and going with the likes of Virgin Mobile where you can do a MIFI with unlimited data (this would not involve your phone).

      I hope that’s not more confusing.

      1. pat says:

        The only tethering option I have from AT+T is $45 4GB. That’s it.

        1. Shane says:

          Hi Pat – - really? they don’t give you the $25 option with 2GB?

          1. pat says:

            Nope. Not unless it’s changed in the past 2 weeks.

            1. Shane says:

              Odd. I thought tethering was an extra $25 and if was added to your bill….I better head over to the AT&T site and see what’s going on!!!!

              1. Pam says:

                Pat, are you tethering using an iPhone?

                I know if you use the the iPhone as a hotspot, you get the tethering plan which is the 4Gs Pat mentions. According to what I found on cnet, that’s $20 for the data plan at 2G and an additional $25 for the tethering plan which is another 2Gs, which leads to 4Gs @ $45.

  31. bukzin says:

    By the way, if anyone is interested in using the ipad as a phone
    have a look at both VoiceCentral and Line2 by Toktumi.

    Both work well for me.

  32. Tim says:

    This might be a no-duh question, but I’ll ask anyway…

    I currently have an iPhone 3G. I know. Classic. You’re all jealous. I’m still have the AT&T unlimited data plan for $30/mo. Not sure if I even use that much data, but plan on upgrading to the iPhone 5 in September. So, I figure that using all the added features (like facetime) and generally being enamored with this fun toy…err, I mean phone…I’ll be pushing into the upper limits of usage in the future. AT&T has confirmed that I’m grandfathered into the unlimited data plan even when I upgrade. Now some of you really are jealous.

    Like many others, I’m debating on whether to get an iPad2 with WiFi only or WiFi+3G.

    It sounds like I could get the WiFi only version and tether that to my unlimited data plan for only $20/mo and only when I need it at that, right?

    Does that mean I would be able to get unlimited tethered 3G (or possibly 4G) coverage through the WiFi version? If so, that would probably be the smarter and cheaper approach right?

    Thanks,
    Tim

  33. Tim says:

    This might be a no-duh question, but I’ll ask anyway…

    I currently have an iPhone 3G. I know. Classic. You’re all jealous. I’m still have the AT&T unlimited data plan for $30/mo. Not sure if I even use that much data, but plan on upgrading to the iPhone 5 in September. So, I figure that using all the added features (like facetime) and generally being enamored with this fun toy…err, I mean phone…I’ll be pushing into the upper limits of usage in the future. AT&T has confirmed that I’m grandfathered into the unlimited data plan even when I upgrade. Now some of you really are jealous.

    Like many others, I’m debating on whether to get an iPad2 with WiFi only or WiFi+3G.

    It sounds like I could get the WiFi only version and tether that to my unlimited data plan for only $20/mo and only when I need it at that, right?

    Does that mean I would be able to get unlimited tethered 3G (or possibly 4G) coverage through the WiFi version, too? Or do you have to pay on a tiered tethering program. Still unclear on that. If the former, that would probably be the smarter and cheaper approach right?

    Thanks,
    Tim

    1. pat says:

      When you sign up for tethering you are switching from one plan to another. Tethering/wifi hot spot paln casts $45 for 4GB and that’s the only option. But you can do it for one month at a time. But of course once you switch from unlimited, as you know,that’s it, you can’t go back.

      1. Tim says:

        Oh. No, I didn’t realize that when you sign up for tethering that would switch your plan. Just thought they charged you extra per month to do that.

        Isn’t there an app out on the market that will let you do it for free by now? haha.

  34. Michelle Mardany says:

    break it down for me in 3 easy steps if possible. I have an iphone4, att plan, just got the ipad2 as a gift from new bf but only hotspot. first what’s the point of buying/owning an ipad2 if it is not truly portable and i do not mean starbucks accessible. Can I exchange/add/convert to make it mobile?

  35. [...] Expensive: Depending on the device and its expected operation, they can cost as much as a computer with far less computing capability. Paying more for less has never sat well with me. In addition, the devices are built around a service model that requires the user pay for expensive services to utilize the most touted feature, mobility. Thanks to our friends over at TC Geeks for giving some support about effective pricing plans for the iPad. [...]

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  39. […] iPad 2 Wi-Fi And 3G Data Plan Pricing And Options | … – Now that we know the iPad 2 will be able to get 3G service from both AT&T and Verizon as well as a few other options, there may be people wondering which is the best …… […]

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