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3G, new iPad, cannot activate cellular network


macrumors regular
Original poster
Dec 26, 2009
Problem: iPad works great with 3G, there is data and everything is fine. However, yesterday and today, it stopped working. The iPad claimed to have strong 3G signal, yet the iPad complained upon trying to use Safari or another app that it could not activate the cellular network.

The only solution I've found is to turn the iPad off and then on and service resumes.

I have tried going to and from airplane mode, turning on and off cellular data and that didn't work.

Anyone else seen this, anyone have a work around that doesn't involve turning the device off and on.

(this is the same sim I've used in an original iPad and iPad 2 without issue ever)


macrumors member
Jul 15, 2010
i have the same issue and in fact helping apple by installing a config file on my i[pad so they can get base and logs. its worth reporting it to apple via bug and see if they can aid you.

I believe its a software issue as tends to happen when switching from wifi to 3g


macrumors 6502
Nov 5, 2008
I think I'm seeing a similar problem with my iPad and a Rogers LTE sim.

Sometimes when turning off wifi, the indicators at top of screen look like I should have a network connection: e.g. 2 or 3 bars, Rogers logo and 3G indicator - but when I try to access the Internet I get a "Could not activate the cellular network" error.

Turning wifi back on then off again won't fix the problem. But turning off cellular data then turning it back on does seem to fix it

I notice when the problem occurs, after switching off wifi, I usually (always?) see a 3G indicator at top of screen, NOT an LTE indicator. But if I get an LTE indicator after turning off wifi, or after turning cellular data off then on, then data seems to work. Other times 3G seems to work normally

At first I dismissed this as just some LTE issue from my house (I'm not near downtown so don't know how good the LTE coverage is where I am). Plus I was away for 2 weeks and only using this same iPad with prepaid 3G sims from local carriers (I never saw that "could not activate" error while traveling those 2 wks but OTOH I was never using wifi either...). So only recently have I had time to play with LTE and 3G back home, mixed with wifi. Now that I find this thread I'll have to test it some more...
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