iPad mini iPad Mini (Retina) LTE - Does it matter which model?

doofoo

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 13, 2006
95
0
I plan on using my grandfathered LTE unlimited nano-sim in the iPad Mini (Retina).

Does it matter which model I purchase? None of them are locked to the carrier, so I just need to pop the sim out of (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mo or Verizon) model and put in my Verizon nano sim and I'm good to go, right?
 

shenan1982

macrumors 68040
Nov 23, 2011
3,641
80
I plan on using my grandfathered LTE unlimited nano-sim in the iPad Mini (Retina).

Does it matter which model I purchase? None of them are locked to the carrier, so I just need to pop the sim out of (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mo or Verizon) model and put in my Verizon nano sim and I'm good to go, right?
I'm going to jump in as I was wondering the same. Aren't the LTE frequencies the same? So if I want to use my ATT or TMO sim in a Verizon model, won't it work just the same? Or Sprint? Or are they different?
 

paulyeo

macrumors member
Jul 1, 2013
59
0
All LTE models are the same.

I'm using a Sprint iPad mini w/retina with T-Mobile nano sim.
 

Pray

macrumors newbie
Nov 4, 2013
3
0
Tmobile ipad rmini

I got one yday of tmobile with 64 gb . Tried with sprint sim , it didn't accept and showed invalid sim , same sim I tired in ipad air of Verizon and worked like a charm also no personal hotspot in tmobile version


I feel verizon is better option

Also the one I took had image retension while ipad mini with wifi is having no issues with screen. Am returning today
 

shenan1982

macrumors 68040
Nov 23, 2011
3,641
80
All LTE models are the same.

I'm using a Sprint iPad mini w/retina with T-Mobile nano sim.
Why are there differences in the models then? I thought the iPads have both the LTE frequency, as well as the carrier's frequency (ie support for Sprint\Verizon's LTE, as well as their CDMA for "3G" fallback), or in ATT's case the LTE and then the EDGE\HSPA+ for the 3G fallback.

Is this not the case anymore?

In other words, what happens if I get a Sprint LTE mini retina and try to use an ATT sim where there's no ATT LTE, or if I buy a T-Mobile version and try to use it with a Verizon LTE SIM in an area where no LTE is available but EVDO is?

Thanks!
 

Bheleu

macrumors 6502
Nov 16, 2010
348
1
Doubt Antennas are same... Unless something has changed.

Typically, each carrier has their own frequency (band) that they operate on. This prevents one carrier from screwing up with another carrier's frequency band. The only difference at this point would be the antennas and firmware for that carrier.

That being said, there was some overlap on the 3G side of data with Verizon versions years ago. You could put a programmed SIM (but could not program it in the iPad). Because it could not access the LTE signal, it would default down to 3G speeds (horrible). Really recommend you hold off for your carrier. Also AT&T is typically the most demanded model because their frequency band is the one that is most relevant overseas (Korea especially).

You can confirm this as soon as part suppliers start having parts available for the models. You will see ipad mini cellular AT&T model, etc. show up.
 

KPOM

macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
14,394
2,990
All LTE models are the same.
Not quite. See below.

I plan on using my grandfathered LTE unlimited nano-sim in the iPad Mini (Retina).

Does it matter which model I purchase? None of them are locked to the carrier, so I just need to pop the sim out of (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mo or Verizon) model and put in my Verizon nano sim and I'm good to go, right?
All the LTE models of the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini have the same baseband. However, Sprint will not activate service on a model that is sold with another carrier's SIM card. Apparently you need to get a Sprint model, or when they are in stock, you can purchase a "SIM-free" model not "connected" to any other carrier. They can do this because they are a CDMA carrier and don't have the FCC restrictions that Verizon does.

All LTE models will work with T-Mobile, AT&T, or Verizon SIM cards.
 

plasticmoz

macrumors regular
Sep 15, 2007
109
14
Why are there differences in the models then? I thought the iPads have both the LTE frequency, as well as the carrier's frequency (ie support for Sprint\Verizon's LTE, as well as their CDMA for "3G" fallback), or in ATT's case the LTE and then the EDGE\HSPA+ for the 3G fallback.

Is this not the case anymore?

In other words, what happens if I get a Sprint LTE mini retina and try to use an ATT sim where there's no ATT LTE, or if I buy a T-Mobile version and try to use it with a Verizon LTE SIM in an area where no LTE is available but EVDO is?

Thanks!

They just come bundled with a particular carrier's SIM -- there are 0 differences in hardware. If you're going to swap around carriers the recommendation would be to purchase a Verizon unit since they give people a hard time activating devices that aren't on their whitelist. You could find a Verizon nano-SIM and a fake IMEI and get them to activate it but it's a pain in the ass (same goes for Sprint). So if you think you'll ever use it on Verizon I would buy the Verizon model to eliminate that problem -- you can still stick an AT&T or T-Mobile SIM in it and use it no problem.
 

Bheleu

macrumors 6502
Nov 16, 2010
348
1
They just come bundled with a particular carrier's SIM -- there are 0 differences in hardware. If you're going to swap around carriers the recommendation would be to purchase a Verizon unit since they give people a hard time activating devices that aren't on their whitelist. You could find a Verizon nano-SIM and a fake IMEI and get them to activate it but it's a pain in the ass (same goes for Sprint). So if you think you'll ever use it on Verizon I would buy the Verizon model to eliminate that problem -- you can still stick an AT&T or T-Mobile SIM in it and use it no problem.
http://www.imore.com/att-vs-verizon-vs-sprint-vs-t-mobile-which-ipad-carrier-should-you-choose
 

doofoo

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 13, 2006
95
0
Sounds like they are all the same, from all the specs I can find from apple, etc... Doesn't matter which you get, as long as you have a nano-sim activated on the carrier you are attempting to use.

In my case, I'll pickup a Sprint model and use it for T-Mo (Free 200MB), and my unlimited LTE grandfathered plan (micro sim cut down to nano sim).
 

scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
6,626
342
Sounds like they are all the same, from all the specs I can find from apple, etc...
Basically, yes. The hardware is exactly the same across all iPad Air/rMini models.

Doesn't matter which you get, as long as you have a nano-sim activated on the carrier you are attempting to use.
Not... quite. The problem remains that some carriers (the CDMA networks) have policies in place where they are either strongly reluctant (Verizon) or outright refusing (Sprint) to not activate an iPad if it's not one of "their" devices... that being, a device that was sold with one of their SIMs in the box, and whose IMEI/MEID isn't already in a database that identifies their stock. Even though the devices are completely identical, and perfectly capable of working fine on their networks. The reasons are purely bureaucratic, and turf-based.

So, if you think there could be ANY reason that you may EVER want to use your device on say, Sprint (though why anyone would do that, well, that's beyond me really), then you should get a Sprint model. Any other carrier? You should probably get a Verizon model.


Why are there differences in the models then?
Solely because the wireless carriers feel, for whatever silly reason, that even though there is no subsidy (and thus, no subsidy lock) for iPads, people should still be mislead to believe that certain iPads can only work on certain carriers.

I guess this is to try and prevent people from doing what most of us do: Buy an iPad with a "good but expensive" carrier's SIM pre-installed, then hang on to it in case we need it while trotting over to T-Mobile to get free data. :)

Why Apple plays along with this stupid game, I have no idea. But it's probably the worst-kept secret that the cellular hardware on all iPad Airs/rMinis are identical

In other words, what happens if I get a Sprint LTE mini retina and try to use an ATT sim where there's no ATT LTE
It'll "just work." The Sprint LTE mini retina has the radio for AT&T's 3G/"4G" network too. And if AT&T rolls out LTE in your area, that'll work fine as well.

or if I buy a T-Mobile version and try to use it with a Verizon LTE SIM in an area where no LTE is available but EVDO is?
Well, Verizon might hem and haw at this, and try to say it can't be activated. You might have to persevere on this, but technically, a "T-Mobile" iPad Air or rMini is perfect capable of using Verizon LTE and EVDO.
 

doofoo

macrumors member
Original poster
Sep 13, 2006
95
0
Basically, yes. The hardware is exactly the same across all iPad Air/rMini models.



Not... quite. The problem remains that some carriers (the CDMA networks) have policies in place where they are either strongly reluctant (Verizon) or outright refusing (Sprint) to not activate an iPad if it's not one of "their" devices... that being, a device whose IMEI/MEID isn't already in a database that identifies their stock. Even though the devices are completely identical, and perfectly capable of working fine on their networks. The reasons are purely bureaucratic, and purely turf-based.

So, if you think there could be ANY reason that you may EVER want to use your device on say, Sprint (though why anyone would do that, well, that's beyond me really), then you should get a Sprint model. Any other carrier? You should probably get a Verizon model.




Solely because the wireless carriers feel, for whatever silly reason, that even though there is no subsidy (and thus, no subsidy lock) for iPads, there should still be this impression out that certain iPads can only work on certain carriers.

I guess this is to try and prevent people from doing what most of us do: Buy an iPad with a "good but expensive" carrier's SIM pre-installed, then hang on to it in case we need it while trotting over to T-Mobile to get free data. :)

Why Apple plays along with this stupid game, I have no idea. But it's probably the worst-kept secret that the cellular hardware on all iPad Airs/rMinis are identical



It'll "just work." The Sprint LTE mini retina has the radio for AT&T's 3G/"4G" network too. And if AT&T rolls out LTE in your area, that'll work fine as well.



Well, Verizon might hem and haw at this, and try to say it can't be activated. You might have to persevere on this, but technically, a "T-Mobile" iPad Air or rMini is perfect capable of using Verizon LTE and EVDO.
I've had good luck with Verizon using my sim in non Verizon models. I had to initially activate the sim on a verizon phone, but after that I have swapped it into LTE USB cards, and other phones without issue.

I'll give it a shot, worst case I'll return the iPad and order a Verizon model and wait for it to come in the mail. They are all out of stock everywhere around me. :(

To confirm, has anyone else purchased an iPad Mini Retina or iPad Air for Sprint or T-Mo and used it with a already activated Verizon nano-sim?

More Info:
http://www.gottabemobile.com/2013/11/03/ipad-air-unlocked-partially-compatible-networks-video/
 

ichavis

macrumors newbie
Jul 8, 2010
15
0
Cool, i just took the AT&T nano sim from my Air and moved it to the rMini which i got for TMobile and bingo, its on AT&T using the same SIM info..did not have to reregister it. cool. thanks for the advise.
 

scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
6,626
342
I've had good luck with Verizon using my sim in non Verizon models. I had to initially activate the sim on a verizon phone, but after that I have swapped it into LTE USB cards, and other phones without issue.
I think the key is to avoid contacting Verizon about it if you can, or if you must to get a SIM from them, avoid volunteering the iPad's MEID, r that it's not a Verizon model. You SHOULD be able to just put the Verizon SIM in and activate from the Settings menu. If you try to get Verizon's people involved, they may stonewall attempts to activate.

The same approach MIGHT work on Sprint, but I haven't tried it, and don't care to. :)
 

shenan1982

macrumors 68040
Nov 23, 2011
3,641
80
I think the key is to avoid contacting Verizon about it if you can, or if you must to get a SIM from them, avoid volunteering the iPad's MEID, r that it's not a Verizon model. You SHOULD be able to just put the Verizon SIM in and activate from the Settings menu. If you try to get Verizon's people involved, they may stonewall attempts to activate.

The same approach MIGHT work on Sprint, but I haven't tried it, and don't care to. :)
Any downside to buying the sprint version if I intend to use it with att and tmo?
 

rui no onna

macrumors 604
Oct 25, 2013
6,799
3,089
Not... quite. The problem remains that some carriers (the CDMA networks) have policies in place where they are either strongly reluctant (Verizon) or outright refusing (Sprint) to not activate an iPad if it's not one of "their" devices... that being, a device that was sold with one of their SIMs in the box, and whose IMEI/MEID isn't already in a database that identifies their stock. Even though the devices are completely identical, and perfectly capable of working fine on their networks. The reasons are purely bureaucratic, and turf-based.

Solely because the wireless carriers feel, for whatever silly reason, that even though there is no subsidy (and thus, no subsidy lock) for iPads, people should still be mislead to believe that certain iPads can only work on certain carriers.

I guess this is to try and prevent people from doing what most of us do: Buy an iPad with a "good but expensive" carrier's SIM pre-installed, then hang on to it in case we need it while trotting over to T-Mobile to get free data. :)
Except the way they're doing this is extremely stupid since AT&T or T-Mobile will happily accept money from folks who bought a Verizon or Sprint iPads. Meanwhile, Verizon or Sprint won't accept money from folks who bought AT&T or T-Mobile iPads.

Now if iPads were part of Sprint's $15 billion gamble, I can imagine why they'd want people to buy their iPads instead of other carriers'. :p

Why Apple plays along with this stupid game, I have no idea. But it's probably the worst-kept secret that the cellular hardware on all iPad Airs/rMinis are identical
I think Apple might be putting pressure on carriers to change their policies on BYOD.

On Apple Store pages for the various iPads, they've changed the verbiage from:
Your iPad will only work with the carrier you choose.
to:
Your iPad will be configured to operate with the carrier you choose right out of the box.
with this additional caveat for the iPad 2:
The AT&T model of iPad 2 can roam worldwide on GSM/UMTS networks. The Verizon model of iPad 2 can roam outside of the U.S. on mobile data networks compatible with CDMA EV-DO.
I for one, would be very happy if Apple can strong-arm carriers (Verizon and Sprint, in particular) into giving in to the GSM model. :)
 

scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
6,626
342
I wonder why Apple makes an iPhone that's CDMA\LTE and one that's GSM\LTE, yet the iPads have one chip that covers all. Size thing?
Sort of. The LTE bands being different is a size thing.

The CDMA/GSM thing is more software, and again, influence by carriers. Only in the case of phones they have much more influence and pull, because in many cases, they're paying a subsidy. When carriers are paying money to Apple per phone sale, they arguably have some sway in imposing some restrictions.

Inside, all iPhone 5/S units have the circuitry to handle CDMA. The baseband to enable it on the "GSM only" model just isn't loaded at the factory.
 

U1cracka

macrumors member
Sep 14, 2012
71
7
My local Apple store only has the t-mobile iPad mini Retina in stock i was looking for at&t model.
Will the t-mobile work fine with at&t service and still have the hotspot option.I use my iPad mini as a wifi hotspot on vacation for my wife and daughters wifi iPad


Thanks
U1cracka
 

U1cracka

macrumors member
Sep 14, 2012
71
7
Also does Verizon still Charge to activate the data service if you use it for 1 month then don't use it for 2-3 months or is it like at&t
 

DisplacedMic

macrumors 65816
May 1, 2009
1,411
1
Not quite. See below.



All the LTE models of the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini have the same baseband. However, Sprint will not activate service on a model that is sold with another carrier's SIM card. Apparently you need to get a Sprint model, or when they are in stock, you can purchase a "SIM-free" model not "connected" to any other carrier. They can do this because they are a CDMA carrier and don't have the FCC restrictions that Verizon does.

All LTE models will work with T-Mobile, AT&T, or Verizon SIM cards.
that's not what 2 different apple support people told me. they said i can buy the tmo ipad and switch to sprint later if the free 200mb isn't enough.

----------

Also does Verizon still Charge to activate the data service if you use it for 1 month then don't use it for 2-3 months or is it like at&t
i don't have Verizon so i dont know for sure, but they shouldn't. they do that for phones but if they tried that crap on the iPad given the emphasis on the pay-as-you-go feature i think people would go nuts and we would have seen a million threads on this over the past few years.

don't hold me to that though:D
 

U1cracka

macrumors member
Sep 14, 2012
71
7
that's not what 2 different apple support people told me. they said i can buy the tmo ipad and switch to sprint later if the free 200mb isn't enough.

----------



i don't have Verizon so i dont know for sure, but they shouldn't. they do that for phones but if they tried that crap on the iPad given the emphasis on the pay-as-you-go feature i think people would go nuts and we would have seen a million threads on this over the past few years.

don't hold me to that though:D
Ok thanks when i bought my iPad 3 was going to get a Verizon model but was told they charge a activation fee every time so back then i went with at&t because they didn't charge a activation fee i didn't know if they changed the policy

Guess i will go with the t-mobile since they only have that and Sprint models in stock.
 

rui no onna

macrumors 604
Oct 25, 2013
6,799
3,089
that's not what 2 different apple support people told me. they said i can buy the tmo ipad and switch to sprint later if the free 200mb isn't enough.
Unfortunately, that's just not the case at this time. The iPad really is unlocked. However, Sprint will make it difficult if not impossible to use a non-Sprint device with their service. It'll be easier getting your TMo iPad working with Verizon than with Sprint. Of course, AT&T is always hassle free and if you're already getting decent speed and coverage with T-Mobile, adding a one-time data pass from TMo for times you need extra data is the easiest option.