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Inside AT&T vs Verizon iPad 2 data service plans

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
Apple is offering iPad 2 in two carrier options within the US, but AT&T and Verizon's plans differ significantly [update: Verizon's iPad plan has no activation fees].

AT&T iPad data plans

AT&T continues to offer its no commitment plan that users can start or stop anytime without incurring any fees. While it originally offered an unlimited 3G data plan for iPad users, it currently only offers a 250MB cap for $15 and a 2GB plan for $25.

In addition to 3G data service, AT&T also offers access to its network of WiFi hot spots to its DataConnect plan users (use of which does not count against the data limits). The carrier is also running a special offer of a free month of base service worth $25, and is also currently selling the original iPad models at $100 off, meaning the entry level 16GB iPad 3G is now $529.

Users who go over their data limit are hit with either a $15 charge per each 250MB increment on the smaller plan, or a $10 charge per each additional 1GB on the larger option. AT&T sends its users warning messages when they hit 65, 90 and 100 percent of their data plan. The company provides an interactive calculator to help users estimate how much data they're likely to need based on their use.



When roaming in Canada or Internationally, AT&T's data plans quickly get unreasonable. Data in Canada is billed at 15 tenths of a cent per KB, which is $15 per megabyte or well over $15,000 per GB. Roaming in other countries is 19.5 tenths of a cent per KB, or $19.50 per MB. You will not want to check your email on that, let alone browse the web, although it should be possible to use iPad 2 with existing prepaid SIM cards in other countries.

Verizon iPad data plans

Verizon Wireless previously offered the original iPad WiFi bundled with a MiFi device that relayed its 3G service to the device. That hardware cost extra, driving the bundle price of the entry level 16GB iPad WiFi to $630. Unlike AT&T, Verizon is not yet advertising the $100 cheaper new price Apple set for the original iPad.

With iPad 2, Apple now offers a CDMA model Verizon can sell directly. Like AT&T, Verizon offers contract-free plans users can start and stop whenever they want. It offers a minimum 1GB plan for $20, or a 3GB plan for $35. Going over the data limit on the lesser plan costs $20 per GB, while the bigger plan charges only $10 per GB for extra use.

Update: Verizon typically charges a $35 activation fee to start using their service, which is as much as or more than a month of service. While a company representative couldn't initially confirm to AppleInsider whether iPad 2 would involve the same activation fee the original model bundled with its MiFi did, Andrew Munchbach of Boy Genius Report received confirmation from Verizon that there are no activation or reactivation fees for iPad 2 users.

"There are no activation fees with the iPad 2," a company representative said in an e-mail. "Customers can switch from having data one month to using wifi the next and back to data without activation fees."

Just like AT&T, Verizon's foreign roaming charges are similarly unreasonable, but the Verizon iPad 2 won't work in other countries using a prepaid SIM because it doesn't support GSM-style SIM cards.



Whether to tether: (Updated)

For existing smartphone users on either network, a tethering plan that provides WiFi data service for iPad would seem to make more sense than buying separate data service.

AT&T's tethering plan costs $20 extra per month and now adds 2GB of data to your allotted 2GB smartphone plan, with each extra GB costing another $10.

That's more flexible but roughly matches Verizon's tethering plan, which charges a $20 fee and adds another 2GB of data service exclusive to tethered devices.

Those charges are the same prices the carriers charge for just 1GB of direct data service. Sticking with a tethered WiFi iPad also saves $130 off the iPad hardware as well.

post #2 of 42
Very helpful; with one caveat:

Unless I am mistaken, AT&T now includes an additional 2GB to tethered plans.
post #3 of 42
So if you go 100 megs over your 2 gig bucket on Verizon, you're going to be rounded up a gig?
post #4 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockyridge View Post

Very helpful; with one caveat:

Unless I am mistaken, AT&T now includes an additional 2GB to tethered plans.

Yes, the DataPro 4GB plan is $45/month. This allows tethering via WiFi, Bluetooth or USB.
post #5 of 42
A correction regarding this statement on AT&T tethering: "AT&T's tethering plan costs $20 extra per month and eats up the users' allotted 2GB, with each extra GB costing another $10."

I understand that iPhone 4 tethering (which will be possible with iOS 4.3 for AT&T iPhones) adds an extra 2 GB of data to your plan, for a total of 4 GB for the Data Pro plan + tethering (at a total data cost of $45/month). And furthermore, how that 4 GB is used (either by your iPhone itself or by devices tethered to it) won't matter. Note that tethering cannot be added to the 250 MB plan, only onto the 2 GB Data Pro plan. Overage is $10 per each additional 1 GB.

From what I've read, the Verizon plan segments their extra 2 GB exclusively for the tethered devices, so no "mixed" total of 3GB, 4GB, etc. for all devices. It is 2GB for your tethered devices, and whatever you signed up for as for your iPhone 4 data.

Per a Computerworld article: "We want to extend the benefits of an additional 2GB to smartphone customers on our tethering plan," AT&T Mobility's chief marketing officer, David Christopher, said in a statement. "This delivers more value today for the price they're already paying -- and that's what our customers want." Also confirmed with an AllThingsD article on the subject.
post #6 of 42
Isn't it 200MB?
post #7 of 42
Seems to me the best option is to take your iPhone, jailbreak it, and pay a one-time fee to install MyWi and OFF YOU GO!!!!!

Silly carriers and their expensive data plans. Pfft!
post #8 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockyridge View Post

Very helpful; with one caveat:

Unless I am mistaken, AT&T now includes an additional 2GB to tethered plans.

This is true....AT&T adds 2GB to your tethered plan for a total of 4GB.

So Verizon is going to stick me with activation fees each time I enable it? The heck with you.
post #9 of 42
For US iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch users who are frequent flyers to Canada, instead of paying AT&T exorbitant NA roaming charges, I'd suggest evaluating Boingo instead: http://www.boingo.com/ Click on the Locations then choose either the Browse by City or Browse by venue and click on the SELECT buttons to see their locations around the world (95 countries, 45 venues).

It offers unlimited mobile wi-fi access for US$7.95/month at 260,000 or so hotspots around the world, including the One Zone in downtown Toronto & Toronto's Pearson International airport. It sure beats paying $15,000/GB to AT&T (or Verizon) for roaming charges here. I also used it to access McDonald's US wi-fi network last summer along I-90 from OH to WA (I could never access their free wi-fi).

I primarily use Boingo to access Cogeco's One-Zone (which now has 30-day unlimited iPod/iPad wi-fi access for $5.00 + 13% HST) with the benefit of access to the other 259,700 wi-fi hotspots around the world, including New York, Chicago & Las Vegas. It is handy at Pearson too, where I picked up a Trinidadian friend this week after texting her from International arrivals.

The combination of Boingo and Skype World gives me a virtual cell phone with free calls to North America and 40 other countries for about C$24/month and unlimited data where ever there is a Boingo or other wi-fi hotspot.

Boingo also has plans for laptops as well as combo mobile/laptop plans.

Bob (no ties to Boingo, just a satisfied user)
Toronto
post #10 of 42
Isn't the Verizon "tethering" interrupted whenever a call comes in? I was considering the Verizon 3g iPad2 but hell no if they are going to charge activation fees like that.
post #11 of 42
Is tethering something that can be turned on/off each month for either carrier?
post #12 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Data in Canada is billed at 15 tenths of a cent per KB, which is $15 per megabyte or well over $15,000 per GB. Roaming in other countries is 195 tenths of cent per KB

Or....

Data in Canada is billed at 1.5 cents per KB, which is $15 per megabyte or <s>well over </s>$15,000 per GB. Roaming in other countries is 19.5 cents per KB.

Duh.
post #13 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Brent View Post

For US iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch users who are frequent flyers to Canada, instead of paying AT&T exorbitant NA roaming charges, I'd suggest evaluating Boingo instead: http://www.boingo.com/ Click on the Locations then choose either the Browse by City or Browse by venue and click on the SELECT buttons to see their locations around the world (95 countries, 45 venues).

It offers unlimited mobile wi-fi access for US$7.95/month at 260,000 or so hotspots around the world, including the One Zone in downtown Toronto & Toronto's Pearson International airport. It sure beats paying $15,000/GB to AT&T (or Verizon) for roaming charges here. I also used it to access McDonald's US wi-fi network last summer along I-90 from OH to WA (I could never access their free wi-fi).

I primarily use Boingo to access Cogeco's One-Zone (which now has 30-day unlimited iPod/iPad wi-fi access for $5.00 + 13% HST) with the benefit of access to the other 259,700 wi-fi hotspots around the world, including New York, Chicago & Las Vegas. It is handy at Pearson too, where I picked up a Trinidadian friend this week after texting her from International arrivals.

The combination of Boingo and Skype World gives me a virtual cell phone with free calls to North America and 40 other countries for about C$24/month and unlimited data where ever there is a Boingo or other wi-fi hotspot.

Boingo also has plans for laptops as well as combo mobile/laptop plans.

Bob (no ties to Boingo, just a satisfied user)
Toronto

I couldn't agree more. I accidentally picked Boingo last year on a trip to Switzerland and the World cup. I thought I'd be paying $10 for my 30 day pass to get to use it a couple times. Turned out, nearly every hotspot I found was affiliated with Boingo, so my $9 got me essentially unlimited, everywhere wifi for two weeks, in 4 countries, on two continents. Crazy!
post #14 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by DamonF View Post

From what I've read, the Verizon plan segments their extra 2 GB exclusively for the tethered devices, so no "mixed" total of 3GB, 4GB, etc. for all devices. It is 2GB for your tethered devices, and whatever you signed up for as for your iPhone 4 data.

Partially correct. Yes, the Verizon tethering data is a separate 2 GB. But the "mixed total" really doesn't apply because, currently, Verizon iPhone data plans are unlimited. So unlimited + 2 GB would still be unlimited. But neither ATT or Verizon are going to give you unlimited tethered data. Too easy to suck up huge amounts of data when you are using a laptop and such.

But I suspect when the iPhone 5 comes out Verizon will drop their unlimited iPhone data plan and switch to tiered service similar to ATTs or their own iPad data plans.

The good thing in all of this is there are small signs of competition between carriers. Verizon's iPhone data plan and tethering prompted ATT to improve it's own tethering plan option (you didn't used to get the additional 2 GB of data). Hopefully this will be a sign of continued service plan pricing competition between the carriers.
post #15 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

So if you go 100 megs over your 2 gig bucket on Verizon, you're going to be rounded up a gig?

Yes. I think thats fair, do you not think thats fair? Go back a little and youd be charged excessive rates per MB or KB that far exceed the $10/GB rate they charge now.
post #16 of 42
I've been selfishly clinging to my unlimited data plan (admittedly out of some baseless sense of principle) thinking that I consume a lot of data on my iPhone 4 (and I do… sorta), but, looking at my account history, very little of that data transfers is over 3G evidently (usually only around 100MB, and at its worst ever, still less than 600MB).

I was thinking that I should get a Wi-Fi + 3G iPad 2 and activate/deactivate 3G as needed (which I don't anticipate needing that much anyway). Thanks to this breakdown, I think the better thing to do would be to save $130 by getting the Wi-Fi only iPad 2 and switching to AT&T's Data Pro plan as 4GB should give me more than ample head room for 3G data traffic, tethering only when necessary (which, again, won't be very often). I never liked the idea of needing multiple accounts with AT&T anyway.

I know some here would say jailbreaking would be an even better (i.e., cheaper) option, but you're braver souls than me. I don't want to jailbreak my iPhone.

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post #17 of 42
In my view, both plans stink and aren't worth it. I'll just be getting the Wifi iPad, as I plan to mostly use it at home. Even if I travel somewhere, Wifi is found in plenty of places, including in many hotels and other places where I might be.
post #18 of 42
Those international rates are so obscene...


$15K+ for a GB of data?

Oh yea- electrons crossing a border.. mm hmm. totally justified. You know- because there are magical portal devices that burn unicorn poop for power to facilitate the transport of these AMAZING Kbs...

what a fucking joke.
post #19 of 42
Just out of curiosity, does anyone know what wireless security protocol the Personal Hotspot feature uses?

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post #20 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRR View Post

Those international rates are so obscene...


$15K+ for a GB of data?

Oh yea- electrons crossing a border.. mm hmm. totally justified. You know- because there are magical portal devices that burn unicorn poop for power to facilitate the transport of these AMAZING Kbs...

what a fucking joke.

When I was in England using a Vodafone prepaid SIM (or it might have been Ireland the next week on O2), I put 5 pounds on it and was told it cost 1 per day for an amount of data they didn't know. They couldnt tell me what happened when I went over the number either. So I bought it and figured oh well, I'll figure it out later.

I got through about 18 hours before the internet mysteriously stopped working. Turned out the limit was 200 MB, and after that the data was being charged at 10p per kb. Needless to say, the first 200,000 kb for 1 pound seemed like a better deal than the last 40, which cost me 4 pound.

Stop acting like ATT is the only cell provider that charges ridiculous amounts for things.
post #21 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRR View Post

Those international rates are so obscene...


$15K+ for a GB of data?

Oh yea- electrons crossing a border.. mm hmm. totally justified. You know- because there are magical portal devices that burn unicorn poop for power.

Wow, what does Unicorn Poop even look like (I'm guessing white, which is why Jobs has had so much trouble getting enough for the mystical iphone).

Actually, it sounds like the name of a band.
post #22 of 42
This is not iPad specific, but I wonder what the effect of a cloud-based MobileMe is going to have on these data caps and user's usage. I rarely go over 400MB per month, but with MM supposedly being our digital locker, these data caps will not suffice with the myriad of way to connect with my content. I surmise Apple and the telcos have discussed this, but I'm could be blissfully ignorant too.
post #23 of 42
These plans seem like the most convoluted pile of sh*t. Why not just charge per MB? Seems like the answer is if they did that they couldn't bilk as much money out of the customers.

I am happy I still have my original iPhone and unlimited data.
post #24 of 42
That slider calculator look handy. I'm going to see how many mine would be based on my previous months even though I don't live in the states. Ta.
post #25 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asst. Prof. View Post

Even better? That's a strange choice of phrase for describing the tethering charges.

You expecting "more gooder!"? Half the people who post here ain't got good English...

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post #26 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post

This is true....AT&T adds 2GB to your tethered plan for a total of 4GB.

So Verizon is going to stick me with activation fees each time I enable it? The heck with you.

The first time is bad enough, but the others is not cool. Basically they are tryin to stick it to folks to make sure they stay signed up. So I agree, to heck with that. ATT's rates may not be super awesome but at least I can turn it off without penalty. Pity really about Verizon. If their rates had been a real threat maybe ATT would have improved to compete. This won't help to change anything


Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRR View Post

Those international rates are so obscene...


$15K+ for a GB of data?

Oh yea- electrons crossing a border.. mm hmm. totally justified. You know- because there are magical portal devices that burn unicorn poop for power to facilitate the transport of these AMAZING Kbs...

what a fucking joke.

International rates are high because ATT etc have to pay for the local services to handle the call. And those guys charge ATT etc a lot.

So they prefer that you pop in a local sim when possible. And hopefully this summer or next Apple will give up and just sell the iPhone unlocked everywhere
post #27 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by balsy2001 View Post

Why not just charge per MB?

Charge per actual use, a reasonable MB charge!...

Oh man and apply common sense to the whole thing? Is you crazy!?

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post #28 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagman View Post

Wow, what does Unicorn Poop even look like (I'm guessing white, which is why Jobs has had so much trouble getting enough for the mystical iphone).

Actually, it sounds like the name of a band.


Hey, doesn't it have silver blood, according the the Harry Potter movies?... Just don't drink it!...

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post #29 of 42
Cross-border interconnection rates seem to have changed little since the early days of the telephone.

It is both shocking and maddening that in the 21st century, with all the global trade and foreign travel and cross-border investment, this stupid and obvious thievery still persists.
post #30 of 42
$0.15c KB
$15.00 MB
$15,000 GB
$15,000,000 TB

Or in Europe close to $20,000,000 per TB

I just dont understand how any carrier can justify that. I would have thought that there is at least a TB of casual traffic everday from roaming customers. ($7.3 billion annually).
post #31 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRR View Post

Those international rates are so obscene...


$15K+ for a GB of data?

Oh yea- electrons crossing a border.. mm hmm. totally justified. You know- because there are magical portal devices that burn unicorn poop for power to facilitate the transport of these AMAZING Kbs...

what a fucking joke.

I don't know who does math for AI, but 15 tenths of a cent per kilobyte is $.0015/KB. That eqates to $1.5/MB or $1500/GB. Still outrageous, but not $15,000.

Also, why does AI say "195 tenths of a cent"? Who talks about tenths of a cent? Why not say $1.95/KB (which would be $19,500/GB, and is ludicrous).
post #32 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by msuberly View Post

I don't know who does math for AI, but 15 tenths of a cent per kilobyte is $.0015/KB. That eqates to $1.5/MB or $1500/GB. Still outrageous, but not $15,000.

Um, no. 15 tenths is $0.015 so AI's math is correct. It's their English that's f'ed up.
post #33 of 42
So, for example, on April 1st I sign up for AT&T's 250MB plan. On april 27th I hit 250MB and receive a notification that I've hit 100% of my plan. If I continue, I pay $15 for an additional 250MB. What does that $15 get me? Am I paying that additional $15 for four days use until the end of April or does the clock start over and a new month of data starts on April 27th?
post #34 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple is offering iPad 2 in two carrier options within the US, but AT&T and Verizon's plans differ significantly.

AT&T iPad data plans

AT&T continues to offer its no commitment plan that users can start or stop anytime without incurring any fees. While it originally offered an unlimited 3G data plan for iPad users, it currently only offers a 250MB cap for $15 and a 2GB plan for $25.

In addition to 3G data service, AT&T also offers access to its network of WiFi hot spots to its DataConnect plan users (use of which does not count against the data limits). The carrier is also running a special offer of a free month of base service worth $25, and is also currently selling the original iPad models at $100 off, meaning the entry level 16GB iPad 3G is now $529.

Users who go over their data limit are hit with either a $15 charge per each 250MB increment on the smaller plan, or a $10 charge per each additional 1GB on the larger option. AT&T sends its users warning messages when they hit 65, 90 and 100 percent of their data plan. The company provides an interactive calculator to help users estimate how much data they're likely to need based on their use.

AT&T's policy for going over your plan's allotment differs depending on whether you're prepaid or postpaid.

For postpaid, if you go over your allotment, you're hit with an automatic overage fee, as represented in this article. Either $15 per additional 250 MB if you're on the 250 MB plan, or $10 per additional 1GB if you're on the 2GB plan. These fees are automatically applied as soon as you attempt to use data over and above your plan's allotment.

For prepaid, there's really no such thing as an overage fee. As soon as you hit your allotment, the plan is effectively used up, and if you take no further action you basically will not be permitted to use any more data at all until the plan renews itself at the start of the next 30-day cycle. If you want to continue using data, you must take the active decision to purchase a whole new data allotment, presumably starting over a brand new 30-day cycle on the spot.

The prepaid option has the benefit of offering more predictability in your billing, which makes it easier to plan a budget. You only pay for fees that you make the active decision to pay, and there are never any unexpected charges. The drawbacks are:
1) the inconvenience of potentially having your data session interrupted midstream while you decide whether or not you want to purchase a new allotment
2) less granularity in purchasing additional data -- after you go over 2GB, you can only buy additional data in 2GB chunks rather than 1GB chunks
3) the fact that each additional GB of data costs an average of $2.50 more than it would if you had purchased that same additional GB as a postpaid customer.

The post-paid option offers the benefit of a slightly cheaper incremental rate for the consumers with the largest consumption, and the convenience of not needing to worry about your data session suddenly shuutting off when the allotment runs out. The trade-off is that you have to take a more proactive role in monitoring your data usage if your budget planning requires you to avoid incurring unintended charges.
post #35 of 42
If you can tether an iPhone to an iPad, can you do the reverse? The reason im asking, is these data roaming rates. Living in Canada, when I travel to the U.S. I have no data. I can buy a U.S. Based sim card for the iPad, so could I then tether my phone to it?
post #36 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stourque View Post

If you can tether an iPhone to an iPad, can you do the reverse? The reason im asking, is these data roaming rates. Living in Canada, when I travel to the U.S. I have no data. I can buy a U.S. Based sim card for the iPad, so could I then tether my phone to it?

Tethering isn't supported on the iPad at all, so you can't tether your iPad's plan to other devices. Of course, if you jailbreak your iPad, then you can do all sorts of things with it, including tethering. No word if the iPad 2 is currently jailbreakable, and use at your own risk, of course.
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post #37 of 42
You do not need to pay an extra $15 for Exchange on Verizon. I only pay $30/month and have multiple Exchange accounts.
post #38 of 42
My understanding is that AT&T will pro-rate your post-paid data plan with no hassles or fees. So if you need a plan only for a few days per month, you buy a plan of whatever size, then cancel it when you are done. You will be credited the unused amount, assuming your usage is proportionate to the data allowance per day. So...use 5 days, pay for 5 days.

Verizon, however, appears to not offer this. I heard from a Verizon rep they do have post-paid plans (not just pre-paid), but everytime you disconnect the plan, your account is terminated. Apparently you must pay an activation fee of $35 whenever you restart the plan. This is as of March 9, and their iPad 2 data plans have not been officially announced, so they might change their policies.

Still....can anyone verify the above information based on actual experience or more definitive information?
post #39 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevlevin View Post

My understanding is that AT&T will pro-rate your post-paid data plan with no hassles or fees. So if you need a plan only for a few days per month, you buy a plan of whatever size, then cancel it when you are done. You will be credited the unused amount, assuming your usage is proportionate to the data allowance per day. So...use 5 days, pay for 5 days.

Verizon, however, appears to not offer this. I heard from a Verizon rep they do have post-paid plans (not just pre-paid), but everytime you disconnect the plan, your account is terminated. Apparently you must pay an activation fee of $35 whenever you restart the plan. This is as of March 9, and their iPad 2 data plans have not been officially announced, so they might change their policies.

Still....can anyone verify the above information based on actual experience or more definitive information?

I just call Verizon's Customer Service (March 10 at 9:30 a.m. PST) and was told their data plan was just released and requires $35 to start up, with 1 gig at $20, 3 gig at $35, and 5 gig at $50.

Looks like I'm going with AT&T since I will use 3g only sporadically.

Hope Verizon reconsiders before I line up tomorrow.
post #40 of 42
I just spoke to one person from Verizon sales and another person from customer service. They both told me that there was no activation fee for iPad 2 3G service. None. Not once not ever. Now I still don't trust them but I cannot find anything in writing (on Verizon's website) that mentions an activation fee for the iPad 2.

I'm still leaning toward AT&T. My past experience with Verizon customer service (for DSL and phone) has been so bad I think I would rather not give them anymore of my business than necessary. Either way they really blew it not getting a clear message out there like AT&T did about additional charges.

I'm guessing those reps that are quoting a $35 activation fee are working from old info. Has anyone else talk to a Verizon rep about this?
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