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Apple Watch Series 3 LTE Doesn't Work With Prepaid Wireless Plans

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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
50,498
11,879


Customers who want to purchase an LTE Apple Watch Series 3 model will need a postpaid plan to enable LTE connectivity, meaning it won't be available to those who use prepaid cellular plans. Prepaid plans are often more affordable, but don't support the number sharing features the Apple Watch Series 3 requires.

On AT&T's website, for example, the company says Apple Watch Series 3 connectivity requires the NumberSync feature. NumberSync, which allows one phone number to be used for multiple devices, requires a postpaid wireless account.


Apple Watch Series 3 models on Verizon use the NumberShare feature to allow Apple Watch users to accept calls on either device. NumberShare requires a "standard monthly plan" to work. On T-Mobile, the Apple Watch uses the DIGITS number sharing feature, not available to prepaid customers.

Sprint's website only lists an "active handset" as a requirement, but Fortune this week received word that all four carriers will require a standard monthly plan, including Sprint. Regular monthly plans will be needed for all customers who want an LTE Apple Watch.

Because the Apple Watch Series 3 does not get its own phone number, there's a second requirement on all carriers -- a cellular plan that already includes an iPhone 6 or later.

Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all plan to charge customers $10 per month to add an LTE Apple Watch to their accounts. Three of the four, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon will be waiving their activation fees, and all are offering three free months of connectivity either up front or through service credits.

The LTE Apple Watch became available for pre-order last night, and the first orders will begin arriving to customers on Friday, September 22, the official launch date for the device. Pricing on the LTE Apple Watch Series 3 starts at $399.

Article Link: Apple Watch Series 3 LTE Doesn't Work With Prepaid Wireless Plans
 
Last edited:

iceman42

macrumors regular
Nov 12, 2012
173
26
I'm getting the GPS only version so it doesn't matter to me if the LTE version don't support prepaid plans
 

profets

macrumors 601
Mar 18, 2009
4,677
4,819
eSIM sounds good in theory but apparently has a ton of limitations. You should just be able to add data to your Apple Watch, separate from any iPhone you may or may not own.

One day...

I had assumed that when the watch got cellular it would essentially be just a data connection (well technically it is), but it’s actually tied on your account through your carrier with the cellular number for your iPhone. Nice that they’ve gotten at least some carriers on board. I really thought we’d be using FaceTime audio or maybe some crazy relaying of a cellular call over iCloud / the internet. Anyway, does look like the voice calls portion uses VoLTE.

Should be $5 for it to be worth it...especially since T-Mobile throttles it to 3g

I’m in Canada and while only a single carrier is offering it at the moment, they’re charging $5/month for it and the first 3 months are free. Quite shocked actually, usually we get hosed with cellular plans.
 
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macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
11,166
15,133
Central U.S.
That’s kinda irritating that it shares the same phone number. My iPad gets 2GB per month of unthrottled LTE speed data on T-Mobile for $10/mo and it has its own phone number (technically), which is a much better deal. But I guess it couldn’t hand off the phone calls without sharing the number when not tethered.
 
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Stella

macrumors G3
Apr 21, 2003
8,500
5,373
Canada
Probably aren't enough customers to justify that. How many Apple watches did Apple sell? Less than 5 million world wide? Not all of those are in the states.

It’s just stupid. ONE carrier could have said, “ AW 3 connectivity? Free on our network!”

How many people would have instantly switched their phone contract, right when they are ordering a new phone and watch to go with it for that?
 

BeefSupreme

macrumors regular
Sep 19, 2012
225
249
Probably aren't enough customers to justify that. How many Apple watches did Apple sell? Less than 5 million world wide? Not all of those are in the states.

I wish they would release their numbers. If they’re gonna claim it’s the #1 Watch in the world.
 

macs4nw

macrumors 601
I’m loving my series 1. I hope by series 4 or 5 the carriers get their act together a little better.
Step one would be allowing you to share your airtime/data allotment between your iPhone and AppleWatch without any extra monthly upcharge for the cellular enabled AppleWatch. After all you're not likely to be using both at the same time.

And as they're not providing any Sim card for the Watch or incurring any other extra costs, all they should be charging is a nominal activation fee for AW3 purchasers to start using and enjoying their devices.

Heaven knows, the carriers will eventually probably end up getting more $$ from those subscribers anyway due to the likelihood of gradually increasing bandwidth usage by such multiple device users.
 

shareef777

Suspended
Jul 26, 2005
2,445
3,273
Chicago, IL
It’s just stupid. ONE carrier could have said, “ AW 3 connectivity? Free on our network!”

How many people would have instantly switched their phone contract, right when they are ordering a new phone and watch to go with it for that?

Bet you Tmobile will do exactly that after they realize there’s close to no data used by the watch. After all, they’re the ones that gave the iPad free data (200MB per month) for life.
 
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