iPad Cellular iPads not carrier specific anymore?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Nhwhazup, Dec 5, 2014.

  1. Nhwhazup macrumors 68000


    Sep 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    My daughter wants a new iPad this year and when looking to find one, I don't see an option for the carrier this time. Since they are not listed as ATT or Verizon, etc. I'm assuming that means that the ne iPads are interchangeable between carriers providing you have their SIM. Is this correct?
  2. AllieNeko macrumors 65816

    Sep 25, 2003
    Correct, out of the box it'll work on AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile in the US or EE in the UK (I'm not sure if a US-sold model will work in the UK out of the box and vice versa, though - I believe they will).

    For any other supported network in the world, you will need a SIM card from that network provider.

    Suggestion - if you're in the US, T-Mobile is the best option if you have T-Mobile where you live and she plays, otherwise AT&T is.

    Verizon's plans are ridiculously overpriced, based mostly on Verizon's over-inflated reputation (it isn't really true... Verizon is bloody slow from what I've seen) and Sprint is far more expensive than T-Mobile (though cheaper than AT&T), again for no apparent reason (Sprint isn't really better than T-Mobile... maybe a bit better coverage, but if coverage matters you'd probably get AT&T, and it's way slower than T-Mobile). In fact, at the most useful $30-ish level, Sprint is $5 MORE expensive than AT&T for 3GB - it's insane.
  3. Nhwhazup thread starter macrumors 68000


    Sep 2, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Thanks so much for your quick response. She had ATT on her old iPad and will go with them on her new one. We are in NH, now if we could just find one to buy at Best Buy. I have a gift card to use from my last iphone trade in and she has 2 iPads to trade in so we want to do the deal with Best Buy. No stores in NH have them in stock. All have a 3 - 5 day pickup time. I guess I need to check with Best Buy to see if I could reserve one on my credit card and then pay with the trade ins and gift card.
  4. mtneer macrumors 68030


    Sep 15, 2012
    I bought a Verizon iPad since it gives the greatest flexibility to move between carriers (albeit by purchasing and physically swapping SIM's). It is very complicated/ impossible to migrate into Verizon and Sprint networks without devices purchased from them. AT&T and T-Mobile welcome all comers.
  5. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
  6. AllieNeko macrumors 65816

    Sep 25, 2003
    That used to be true, but Apple has strong-armed them into being more flexible this time around :)
  7. koigirl macrumors 6502a


    Jul 29, 2011
    Raleigh, NC
    I bought a cellular Air 2 Thanksgiving weekend at Best Buy not realizing I needed a Verizon-specific device. With the $100 discount plus an old iPad 2 trade-in, I saved over $200 and this particular Air 2 came with a near-perfect screen. When I called Verizon to switch my original Air off my husband's V group plan and put the Air 2 in its place, the V rep told me I would have to return the cellular model and purchase a V-specific cellular model to work on the Verizon network. Seeing as how I got a unit with a nice screen, I told her I was unwilling to do so and would switch to ATT coverage on my own phone plan if this was indeed the case. While on the phone with her, I went ahead and tried switching out SIM cards with the V SIM card from my original Air and setting up service on the Air 2. Despite a message on my Air 2 that this SIM was not compatible, it showed Verizon LTE activated in upper left corner as well as the SIM card's number under Settings: About. She checked on Verizon's network and sure enough the new IMEI number shows up on the existing cellular number. So it works despite the error message and I'm good. But what a confusing and convoluted process. Why is Verizon making things so complicated?
  8. rigormortis, Dec 5, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2014

    rigormortis macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2009
    the iPad was not carrier specific. however, sprint would balk at you and make you jump through red tape to activate it.

    i believe the only carrier specific iPad was the verizon iPad 2 ??

    or sprint iPads before the iPad air

    however as far as the iPad air goes;

    typically sprint wants proof you bought it from the apple store
    they want proof that the iPad air was the universal part
    this means they want a copy of your receipt

    any iPad air will work on sprint, after you complete the red tape and jump through a ring of fire

    the iPad 2 has that apple sim, which you can activate with AT&T sprint or t-mobile but not verizon.

    verizon might make you do a song and dance too to get the iPad activated. i heard stories where a sim card might need to be activated in another iPad and then moved to your iPad. otherwise the iPad 3,4 air and air 2 should work on verizon as long as they are LTE. one thing for sure is if your iPad isn't an official verizon version they will not mail you a free sim when you purchase prepaid data. you must go to the store or buy your own sim

    always try to activate the iPad using the iPad. once you go to the store and talk to the people there , it gets kind of messy. for instance, look at all those people at t-mobile who got crazy stories when they asked for their 200 megabytes of free tablet data

    as far as verizon's claim of flexibility, thats a bunch of hog wash. i believe any iPad 3,4 air and air 2 will work on verizon as long as the sim has been activated

    you do not need the cdma radio to function to use an iPad on verizon. unless you live in a very old verizon area that is cdma . since it is impossible to place voice calls with an iPad. the cdma radio is not necessary
    the cdma radio is only necessary in the verizon pad 2 because it lacked LTE

    yes. please do not quote me on that. maybe if you get a iPad 4 and its a AT&T version and you put it on verizon it may not operate on the fastest LTE speeds ( like the iPhone 5) . but it MAY work. i know for sure its not locked to AT&T

    other then that , they are pretty universal.

    make sure to get the iPad air at least. it supports more carriers and at LTE speeds then previous iPads.

    unaffiliated with tmo plug other then a customer
    for $20 a month for 1 gb OR $10 to add a line to your existing voice plan
    you get the free unlimited music streaming deal with t-mobile on iPads just like if you had a phone and paid $50 a month. if you chose the free data plan of 200 mb, you do not get music. any free data is used up before music freedom covers you
  9. Mliii macrumors 65816


    Jan 28, 2006
    Southern California
    The Air 2 is not carrier specific.
    However, in addition to the nonsense that Verizon puts its customer base through, AT$T will lock the Apple sim to their network. Their explanation was, "Well, that's just how we do it."
    The solution is to remove the Apple sim and have AT$T put their own in the Air 2 if you activate with them.
  10. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    All iPads released prior to the iPad Air were carrier specific (at least in the US). Starting with the Air, there was only one hardware for all 4 major US carriers. Caveat, Verizon and Sprint only allow devices with whitelisted IMEI/MEID which created an artificial "carrier-specificity".
  11. rigormortis macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2009

    yeah after thinking what i should of said like the other people point out is that verizon iPads will work on AT&T. but not the other way around. speeds will be reduced to 3g speeds on older iPads
    but the fact that i got a verizon preactivated sim card to work in an iPhone 6 on launch day casts doubt on the whole iPad issue and makes me want to test it every single iPad generation myself but i don't have the money

  12. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    An activated SIM from Verizon will work but you will be unable to add data to the SIM unless the IEMI is in the Verizon's database. Any Mini 3 or Air 2 have their IEMI numbers in the Verizon database so you only need a Verizon SIM card (go to a Verizon store). If you have a Mini, Mini2, or Air, it needs to be branded a Verizon iPad in order for the IEMI number to be in the Verizon database. Others may have different luck but, I found it's impossible to get Verizon to add an IEMI number to their database.
  13. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    iPad 2
    GSM: AT&T 3G, T-Mobile 2G/3G
    CDMA: Verizon 3G (no SIM card)

    iPad 3
    GSM: AT&T LTE, T-Mobile 2G/3G
    CDMA: Verizon LTE, AT&T 3G, T-Mobile 2G/3G

    iPad 4/mini
    GSM: AT&T LTE, T-Mobile 2G/3G
    CDMA: Verizon LTE, Sprint LTE, AT&T 3G, T-Mobile 2G/3G

    iPad Air/mini 2
    one model (artificial IMEI/MEID limitations)

    iPad Air 2/mini 3
    one model (no IMEI/MEID limitations?)

    iPad Air and mini 2 were the first universal iPad models. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were the first universal iPhone models (albeit still with artificial IMEI/MEID limitations).

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