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Old Jan 5, 2013, 10:09 AM   #1
douggoss
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iPad data plans: Verizon Data or ATT Tethered?

So my wife got me an ipad for Christmas with 3G. She got me the Verizon model but before I set it up, I want to make sure that is the best one for our needs: Here is the current setup:

Me: iphone 4S with ATT (discounted ~21% through the wife's job) unlimited data plan. (New) iPad with wifi & Verizon 3G
Wifey: iphone originally with ATT but now service with Straight Talk. Their service is really crappy and she is thinking of going back to ATT. She also has an ipad but wifi only.

So, here are the options as I see them:

1. Keep my existing plan and add a data plan with Verizon for the iPad. I sort of like this plan as I would get ATT coverage on my iPhone in the event there is no coverage for Verizon for the iPad. I am grandfathered on an unlimited data plan with ATT currently. Yeah, the first thing I thought of was tethering the new iPad to my current iPhone but I would lose the unlimited data plan if I did that.
The Verizon plan would also allow me to tether (I guess they call it hot-spot now) the wife's iPad for no additional charge. Can turn this plan off and on as needed with no additional charge so could save the data plans during months we don't travel.

2. Roll my phone and the wife's phone and the two iPads into one of the shared plans with ATT. Unlike plan #1 which does not do anything about the wife's crappy phone, this would get us all the cell stuff (both phones and both ipads) under one account, and the wife would get the discount on it from her job. The downside is that it is all with ATT and limited to their coverage. The upside is if we went with the 6Gb plan
that would include tethering so both the iPads would have be able to get a signal if we are out of wifi range.

I have a few questions to help make my decision easier:
1. It looks like Verizon has much more coverage at 3G/4G/LTE than ATT. Any opinions on that? Reading reviews here it looks like ATT is faster but Verizon has more coverage.

2. How does the tethering option work with ATT? How is the speed? How would it compare to no tethering (just using a data plan for the iPad if I got the wifi+3G model for ATT)? Does ATT throttle speeds back when tethering? Seems like adding tethering into the equation is simply adding a step in getting data to the iPad (and does this step slow it down)? Then again it seems like a waste to spend extra for a wifi+3G iPad when the wifi model should work as well (with tethering)?

3. Is there a big difference in the iPad 2 and iPad 3? The wife got me a refurbished iPad 2 but it looks like the iPad 3 has twice the resolution. I have just started a photography business and do see using this to show my work so I would think the iPad3 would be the better option. Can get a refurb iPad 3 wifi for what the iPad 2 with wifi &3G cost (provided the tethering option is a good one and no need for the 3G). Went to two Apple stores in Nashville last night and looked at the two side by side. One store both iPad 3 models on display looked noticeable worse then the older iPad 2. This was true for the stock photos and a test shot taken by each in the store. Saturation was horrible, whites were yellow. The other store was the opposite (went there because I could not believe what I was seeing in the first store). It took looking at several pictures (under less than ideal lighting) but I did finally see where the iPad3 (or 4 or whatever the latest model is) did look better than the iPad 2 in both saturation and detail.

4 I guess option 3 would be to jailbreak the iphone and tether without a fee on the current ATT plan but I have never done anything like this and not sure I want to start now.

Thanks for the advice!

Last edited by douggoss; Jan 5, 2013 at 10:20 AM.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 12:17 PM   #2
kevroc
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A few thoughts for you as I have a similar setup.

1. Don't give up your unlimited data. You can sell the plan on eBay or wherever, but don't just give it up.

2. I find the 3 to be a pretty good upgrade over the 2 but you can always switch down the road, no need to switch now.

3. With the Verizon you also have gsm support. You can put an AT&T or any other sim in there and you'll have 3G support. TMobile is expanding into that frequency as well and their 3G is much faster than AT&T or Verizon.

I decided to stick with the Verizon model because I can tether if needed for $20. I have tethered extensively on mine and its very fast and very reliable. It's also nice how you can scale up your data if needed.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 12:42 PM   #3
wordoflife
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1) It depends on where you live and where you plan to use the device. I have an AT&T iPhone and Verizon iPad. We recently got LTE coverage here (I'll get into that in a second) but even though Verizon claims to have more 3G/LTE coverage, I find that it depends on your location. For 3G coverage, AT&T and Verizon had always been somewhat similar for me. The only thing I noticed coming from my AT&T iPhone is that Verizon 3G is painfully slow. Downloading lage PDFs takes considerably longer than it does on AT&T. I still went with Verizon because I didn't want to get rid of my AT&T grandfathered plan and they had a plan that better fitted what I wanted to pay. Thankfully I have LTE now on Verizon, but it is more or less the same experience as 3G on AT&T. (i have a 4S, so I dont have AT&T LTE). After a certain speed, you can't really notice a difference and my 3G gets nearly 9 Mb/s. So I would check what kind of coverage you have in places that you want to use your iPad in.

2) AT&T won't throttle for tethering, but you'd have to give up your unlimited data. Additionally you will be depleting the battery on your phone (which may or may not be worth it to you) by tethering.

3) The Retina display looks really good. I would get that for sure.

4) You can't jailbreak iOS 6 as of yet, but even if you did, AT&T will catch your tethering and change your plan accordingly.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 02:24 PM   #4
bursthead
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You can always buy a verizon unlimited plan off ebay from 200-300 dollars. You may be able to get a deal if your buying two plans. With that you can use as much data as you want tether or stream all day, and not have to worry about overages.

Another great feature about the verizon unlimited plans. Is that you can swap the sim between the ipad, iphone and tablets. Unfortunately you will run into an issue since you are not on LTE. Since this feature is only for LTE devices.

An example of this is buying a used 4g LTE verizon mifi off ebay for 25-30 like the SCH-LC11. Taking your unlimited or even a prepaid sim and swapping into the mifi. And you will be able to take advantage of 4g Lte on your tablet, phone or laptop.
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Current as of 6/13/2013: Verizon Note 3,White iPad Air 16gb ATT. Sony Xperia Z Ultra. Z10 ATT. Proud unlimited iPad ATT Data Plan Owner & Verizon Unlimited Data User.

Last edited by bursthead; Jan 6, 2013 at 04:13 PM.
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