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Old Nov 15, 2010, 05:18 AM   #1
Raymen
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Location: Porthleven, Cornwall, UK
Getting short term 3G data plan for iPad abroad

Next year I plan to get myself an iPad either before, or during a trip to canada and I'm trying to do some rooting around for information well prior to the trip!

I've looked into the option of buying an iPad there, and understand the import issues - and have looked at the vat and servicing etc. It still looks cheaper than buying the same device here, but want to make sure I don't end up with a rather pritty paperweight when not near a wifi source..

I plan on getting a 3G version and trying to get a P+G data plan when I'm out there (such as the rogers 30 day P+G data plan,then cancelling it before my return). The idea being I could use the device on the go for uploading photos to the web, etc, while I'm there.

I'm a little concerned that this will tie the device to the canadian suppier. Would I then be able to get a U.K mini sim from a provider here and just replace it and use it on uk networks ?
or would a safer option be to get a UK iPad and then get a P+G mifi device while I'm out there...

Has anyone done anything similar who can provide a little advice as to how easy / difficult future ownership will be if I do get a foreign data plan and then try and get a uk data plan on my return...

Cheers

R
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Old Nov 15, 2010, 12:01 PM   #2
b.c.
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buying an iPad 3G here in Canada is no problem if that's what you want to do - they are not locked to a carrier. so yes you can pop out the microSIM card and use another when you get home.

take a look at this other thread discussing how to buy a data plan in Canada if you're from out of the country
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Old Nov 15, 2010, 01:45 PM   #3
Raymen
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Thanks, it was the worry of the iPad being tied to the carrier I was worried about! I think that more a problem with the iPhone.

I actually learned using a rather scary measure involving scissors - I can modify my iPhone sim when I get back to the uk to fit (unless i get the iPhone 4). Thus saving the need for two data contracts.

I'll have a good look at the suggestions on that thread. I did find the rogers p+g. I might have a word with my cousin who loves out there (hence the visit), to see if she knows anything about the carrier. I think I've got to triple check my import calculations before I go ahead an buy a Canadian iPad. If it's going to save as much ad I think, I may be tempted...
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Old Nov 15, 2010, 01:46 PM   #4
Saberon
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I thought you had to have a Canadian credit card to activate the iPad SIM plan.

As a Canadian I can't go to the USA and buy an ATT Sim for iPad and activate it without a US based credit card.
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Old Nov 15, 2010, 03:24 PM   #5
Raymen
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I've read some threads of people who've done it through pre-paid sim's, but as you say, it has to be bought online. I don't know whether that means you have to use a canadian card. The other thing is people using visa gift cards. I think I really need to talk to my cousin about it. If needs be I'm sure she'd be happy to assist with getting something like a 30 day pre-pay sim for the device.
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Old Nov 15, 2010, 03:58 PM   #6
b.c.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saberon View Post
I thought you had to have a Canadian credit card to activate the iPad SIM plan.

As a Canadian I can't go to the USA and buy an ATT Sim for iPad and activate it without a US based credit card.
I'm from Canada - fyi I've taken my iPad to US, bought an AT&T sim card and successfully activated using a prepaid Visa gift card (purchased at Target, in US). Apparently a Cdn AmEx card will work too on AT&T. there's a separate thread here somewhere talking about foreigners activating on AT&T if you're interested in that usage...

back to the earlier question, if you read through the thread I referred to earlier you'll see various successes or failures activating in Canada... I recommend reading that other thread in detail.

p.s. @Raymen: AFAIK there's no such thing (at least here in Canada) as a "pre-paid SIM card" for iPad. with all of the 3 carriers: Rogers, Telus, Bell - you buy a micro-SIM card then activate a data plan, like you do on AT&T in the US. the data plan can be monthly, there's no long term contract required. but there's no "pre-paid" balance on the SIM when you buy it, you need to activate an account, then cancel before it auto-renews in 30days.

by the way, if you DO decide to purchase an iPad here once you arrive, note that if you do so at an Apple retail store, you can add a micro-SIM card for the carrier of your choice at the time of iPad purchase for a very small nominal fee (like $0.20 or something like that) - or possibly free. but if you buy a SIM-less iPad then buy the sim from one of the carriers directly, they will likely charge you more for it, I've heard $15. so plan ahead
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Old Nov 17, 2010, 04:05 PM   #7
Davealuk
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Talking Using UK iPad in the USA

I have just been to Florida for two weeks (as most Brits do) and I wanted to use my iPad whilst I was there on a 3G connection. I have read many posts on many sites and was pretty sure because of those posts what to do but here is my version of events for any other UK or other iPad users going to the USA.

First vist Apple store (for me, Orlando) and ask for an AT&T iPad mobile data sim, Apple guy asks one other colleague and gives me an AT&T micro sim card free of charge.

Go to 7-11 gas station and buy Visa gift card, non top up (non re-loadable) for $25.00 plus $3.78 activation fee.

Put AT&T sim in iPad and follow the screen prompts.

When prompted for the card details enter the card number and the card name, on my visa card it was A GIFT FOR YOU, enter the 3 digit security code on the back of the card.

For the billing address I used the hotel address (or you accommodation address) PLUS the zip code.

For the user email address use your own UK email address and a confirmation will be sent to you. You need to supply this to check your data plan.

I think it is best to go for the 2G plan for $25 as I used 1.4Gb in 12 days using the pad for about 2hrs constant a day. Other option is $15 for 250 mb which will go quickly.

At the airport about 30 mins before boarding I logged in to the data account and cancelled future charges.

Everything was painless and simple and the pad was indispensable as we used Skpe (although without the inbuilt cam.....come on Apple) to use as a phone call home to our kids to stay in touch.

When I got back to the UK I just put my O2 micro sim back in and everything was back to normal with me having to do anything.

I hope this may help someone looking to do the same

Davealuk

Feel free to email or post if you have questions.
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Old Nov 17, 2010, 04:40 PM   #8
Raymen
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Thanks for the help with a real life situation there Davealuk, it was really helpful. Certainly doesn't sound too difficult to do. I've certainly got the time to think about it. I won't be going out there till mid next year...

Still, it does seem that regardless of the location it isn't made exactly easy for traveler's to get short term data contracts. Even in the UK, the only method I can think of is spending 50 on a pay+go mifi device.

When away, I'd rather use a local company than be ripped off by ridiculous roaming charges for data use abroad. With the dawn of more an more devices requiring on the go data, providers will perhaps rethink how the go about offering manners to get online using such devices.
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