Alternative 3G Options

Discussion in 'iPad' started by IrishTiger, May 2, 2010.

  1. IrishTiger macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    I know there's been a couple of threads out there along these lines... but it wasn't exactly what I was looking for. Basically.... AT&T's 3G service on the iPad sucks royal balls. I mean it's BAD. However, the great things are there is no contract, it's truly unlimited for $30 a month, and it's integrated into the iPad. So there ARE good points.

    Now, today, I went to Sprint to check out the 4G Overdrive. I was not impressed. The store couldn't even get the thing to work for me, so I had to go to another store to try it out. There is not enough 4G service in the US to make it worth it, and their 3G service isn't all that great.

    Next I went to Verizon and checked out their MiFi 2200. I was VERY impressed. I thought the speed of the 3G was EXCELLENT. And I showed the guy the difference in youtube quality on the VZ network, and then I switched over to my ATT 3G. The difference was incredible. I found pages to load very fast, and content seems to stream well and consistently.

    I'm a former customer of VZW, and only switched to get the iPhone. I love VZ's network. Now, I'm looking to alter my communication plans. I'm an airline pilot, so staying connected on the go is important to me - hence why my iPhone is my best friend. Now that I have the iPad, it's my NEW best friend. I don't do a lot of talking on the phone during day time, so I'm thinking of reducing my plan (I'm at about $100 a month after taxes including the data on the iPhone). I'd even be open to switching phones if I could get one with a built in WiFi hotspot that's equally as fast as the MiFi. I'm just not sure of the options. The only problem with that is draining the battery.

    I also hate the contract with Verizon or Sprint. I HATE contracts... so I'd probably buy the MiFi elsewhere (online) and then sign up that way. I don't think I'd be stuck in a contract then.

    So based on all this nonsense I've spewed out.... does anyone have any suggestions that you think I might be interested in?

    Thanks :D

  2. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    If it's an option, you can get a Nokia N900 with T-Mobile 3G; T-Mobile's 3G coverage is a bit weak at the moment, but it will improve over time. Unlike AT&T's network, T-Mobile actually makes sure their 3G network is solid before expanding; also their EDGE is faster than AT&T's. Finally with T-Mobile their minutes are crazy cheap; you can add unlimited minutes, data, and text for like $80 a month (before taxes); with the N900 you can get JoikuSpot for Linux (which is the Maemo 5 version) and that does the same thing as the MiFis. You get a better phone out of it. Plus you can make 3G calling via Skype if you choose (BTW Skype is integrated into the OS, so you can choose to call over Skype at time of dialing)

    Do note, you can tether with T-Mobile; just be sure to get the smartphone data plan. I think it costs a bit more, but tethering is one of the features.

    The plans I'm talking about here is their 'Even More Plus' which is contract free assuming you bring your own phone (which in this case would be to buy the N900 at retail).
  3. IrishTiger thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    You know I've looked into tmobile before but I wasn't really impressed. I'll keep it as an option though for sure.

    One thing I don't understand is this concept of the ipad already being unlocked. What does that mean? To me that means I can take a verizon sim card and use that with the ipad. What's stopping us from doing that? I just don't get it. Seems to me like we're stuck with att. :confused:
  4. UniPro macrumors regular


    Apr 23, 2009
    Orange County, CA
    The iPad IS unlocked. You can mod a T-Mobile sim card and use that if you really wish.

    The reason you can't use Verizon is because their network is CDMA while the iPad has a GSM radio. Therefore it is not a matter of the iPad being unlocked but network incompatibility.
  5. TraceyS/FL macrumors 601

    Jan 11, 2007
    North Central Florida
    Just an FYI, you can buy the mifi out of pocket with verizon. Check online and they have the pricing. You still have to do the regular data prices for anything worth paying for, but there is the option of pay as you go if you want.

    We have enough 3G here for me that I didn't end up going with the mifi strictly on a cost comparison basis. I'm poor! Lol!
  6. barefeats macrumors 65816


    Jul 6, 2000
    I picked up a 4G Clear Spot (which is similar to the Sprint 4G Overdrive mobile hotspot). The download speed is even faster than the Overdrive but not as small. Also the upload speed ls slower.

    Anyone else have experience with Clear Spot?
  7. IrishTiger thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    My neighbors tried to get clear for their home service as they has att dsl and it was horrible. We don't get clear signal here - and I'm right downtown atlanta too. I wouldn't go with them. I travel to some Podunk airports sometimes so I need a good reliable network that isn't as slow as molasses and one that doesn't downgrade my video quality. :)
  8. msavwah macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2010
    I think Clear is the best deal

    After buying a clear spot and USB modem you pay $40 per month no contract.

    It all depends on what kind of signal you can get. I just did a trial this week and the reception isn't quite there yet in my area so I cancelled.

    A thing to note, Sprint, and Roadrunner mobile and any other wimax or 4g network IS Clear, just being resold under a different brand. I know for a fact Sprint is, pretty sure about anything else.

    Clear is still being rolled out, I think it will be pretty sweet once they get the entire network in place. Right now it really does depend on your location, it's in fewer places than any 3G service.

    They already have a few laptops with clear chips in them, and smart phones are coming later this year.
  9. bowlerman625 macrumors 68020


    Jun 17, 2009
    Chicago, IL area
    I was going to use Clear to replace DSL. Big mistake. The service was unreliable at best. I wound up with Comcast and am much happier with their performance product. Clear may be good for mobile, but not for the house.

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