Best data plan for iPad - cost and coverage

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I have an unlocked ipad.  I have a Tmobile sim for free 200MB data for life.  Coverage is abysmal in NYC due to my device lacking 700 mhz band perhaps.

AT&T is more expensive which I also have a sim for.  Excellent global roaming partners on LTE and very good coverage in NYC but not as good as Verizon domestically.  AT&T as a plus however is installing small cell antennas in the big urban cities including NYC this year.  

Verizon can cost less perhaps on certain data plans than Verizon with best domestic coverage and speeds.  The problem with Verizon is they deactivate sims on prepaid plains for four months inactivity.  My device came with a Verizon sim which I only used one time when there was a free data promotion.  Thereafter it got inactivated for lack of activity.  Also no global LTE roaming options.

H2O Bolt has very cheap promotional plans running on the AT&T domestic 4G network.  Has some less coverage than AT&T due to removal of roaming partners domestically.  

Am I best off just sticking with AT&T since it seems to be best for total global coverage and good domestic coverage that is impeoving thanks to small cell deployments? 

There are also roaming sims but prices on domestic data are high.  Any of these thpes of sims good for domestic and international?

Sprint is weak network and not compatible with my device so Sprint or Sprint Based providers are not good.



 

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Which 'Unlocked Ipad' certain ones only work for certain companies due to missing electronics.  What's the model # on the back.

If you don't have a newer iPad Pro (or phone for that matter) you might be wasting your time. Why? Because of the 2 domestic carriers you mentioned, AT&T and T-Mobile are both migrating their LTE coverage to newer frequency bands across the U.S. as they acquire the rights in each market place and even phones and tablets that are only a year old may not work properly! Think of it as having only an AM radio and them FM radio came out but you don't have a newer AM/FM radio to pick up the stations that moved broadcasting to FM.

In the case of T-Mobile, you already mentioned they are now expanding coverage for Band 12, 700 Mhz which makes for an incredible difference in their coverage not only for 'in-building" coverage in metro areas like NY but also for its distance capabilities in rural areas. I have T-Mobile and live and work in the NJ/NY/CT metro area and have upgraded to a newer iPad Pro and I have seen a HUGE improvement (near flawless) in performance this year versus last year. In the case of AT&T they are moving LTE coverage to Band 30 rapidly across the country which ONLY new phones (like the iPhone 7 or Galaxy S7) or tablets like the iPad Pro have the capability for this band!

Also you might want to stay with T-Mobile because IF you get a new iPad Pro AND sign up for their new "ONE" unlimited plan with phone service, you can get UNLIMITED data for your iPad Pro for only $20 a month add-on to your bill and that includes FREE ROAMING with unlimited texting and data in over 140+ countries if you travel! Nobody else has a deal like that. Just saying...something to consider.

FreedomPop on AT&T was news to me. However, you just get short term bonuses. If you use the card over time and pay for data it costs more than AT&T which is apparently how they make their money. They seed you with promotions, but in the long term they try to make additional revenue above and beyond the rates directly for AT&T.. H2O wireless also has customer service issues on AT&T even though it seems prepaid data is cheaper than AT&T.

It is true FreedomPop is a better deal for some for free data than Tmobile due to AT&T coverage. But for those actually consuming data on AT&T I guess At&T is best.

How much data do you use per month?

Depending on your cell phone carrier it might make sense to just use the mobile hotspot feature on your phone. It takes seconds to enable, you can set your Ipad to automatically connect, and on certain carriers like T-Mobile and Verizon, mobile hotspot it may be already included in your plan.

Verizon gives more data but will cost over $200 a year. AT&T would cost just 100 a year. AT&T is 4GB a year for 100 for prepaid payable in 25 per 90 days for 1GB.

Verizon would be roughly over 200 a month for data payable in two month increments for 2GB so 12GB a year for over 200. Verizon seems to be cheaper than AT&T for unlimited plans and for higher data buckets.

100 a year for my tablet is reasonable I guess.

As I don't know your model you might not even get it to work with Verizon.

Verizon apparently has a new tablet plan for 10 a month for 1gb. 120 a year with autopay. Seems like a better deal than AT&T which only gives 1gb per 90 days for 100 a year.

AT&T seems to have worse pricing than Verizon.

My device is comparible with Verizon, Tmobile and AT&T. Sprint will not work. I have tested all three which works with my device. At&T has better international roaming and no autopay.

deeder said:   Verizon apparently has a new tablet plan for 10 a month for 1gb. 120 a year with autopay. Seems like a better deal than AT&T which only gives 1gb per 90 days for 100 a year.

AT&T seems to have worse pricing than Verizon.

My device is comparible with Verizon, Tmobile and AT&T. Sprint will not work. I have tested all three which works with my device. At&T has better international roaming and no autopay.

  That's what confuses me,
According to this site
http://www.apple.com//ipad/LTE/

There is NO Ipad that is Verizon compatible that isn't Sprint compatible. (Well expect for the Ipad 3 With Retina, but that isn't AT&T compatible)
 

Sprint runs on TDD Lte I believe while everyone else is FDD. My Tmobile sim picks up two different Sprint carriers. if I put a Sprint sim in this as others have done, it would not work. Im not sure if the sim gives an error message or if Sprint just won't activate Verizon branded models. I knew I wanted Verizon over Sprint when I got the device and Tmobile and AT&T work fine.

AT&T is improving NYC with new small cell antennas later this year, AT&T and Verizon have the coveted 700 Mhz bands on my device. Sprint does not, it also uses TDD while everyone else uses FDD for LTE. Sprint is known for worse coverage and speeds even if it has the lowest prices.

AT&T has the global roaming advantage including cruise ships, airplanes, LTE networks internationally and owns their own network in Mexico..

Verizon has the domestic network coverage advantage. Verizon also tends to have better deals on data pricing and perhaps other plans as well.

Apparently Verizon MVNO's are limited to sllower speeds. At&t MVNO's don't allow roaming. Not sure if speeds are slower or not,

Ah,
I don't think it's the FDD vs TDD issue but I do see that most ipads do not support all the bands that Sprint uses. (25,26,41)
Only the Ipad Air 2 and newer supports Sprint fully.

I guess I will stick with AT&T prepaid data connect plans for now and pay as needed.  I don't need roaming coverage in USA as of now on my Ipad,  AT&T has expanded native coverage with acquisitions and their own buildout.

You never answered how much data you use per month.

FreedomPop free plan provides 200MB per month, but you can easily increase that to 700MB per month by simply "friending" 10 people.

FreedomPop is also the most complained about MVNO apparently.

deeder said:   FreedomPop is also the most complained about MVNO apparently.
  Anything free will have complaints.



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