iPad prepaid SIM in New York

Discussion in 'iPad' started by JazzG, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. JazzG, Jun 19, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012

    JazzG macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2009
    Hi there, I am thinking of visiting New York next week (leaving it late as usual!) and wanted to know where I could pick up a prepaid data SIM. I am bringing my iPad along and thought it would be handy having a 4G sim to use while we are out and about. Do these SIMs need to be ordered online and possibly delivered to my hotel before my arrival or are there shops I can go to where I can pick them up?

    Am thinking 1GB or maybe 2GB should be enough as I'm coming for a week!

    Thanks for the help!
  2. wallman macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2012
    Where are you visiting from?

    You should be able to go into any AT&T store and get a micorsim, for free. And then do an on device activation. 3G for $30 for 30 days. Next one down is only 250 Mb for $15.

    If you are from out of the USA, then you will need a US address, the hotel where you are staying will work. Address and postal code is needed.

    Then use an AMEX or you may have to get a prepaid Visa card.
  3. JazzG thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2009
    I'm coming from London, is the AT&T network 4G?

    If there are stores I'll just pop down to one and get a sim card, should be easy enough then :)
  4. JazzG thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2009
    Just want to check do both AT&T and Verizon have 4G coverage in New York?

    I suppose 4G doesn't matter that much but seeing as I'll never be able to use it in the UK would be nice to give it a try :)
  5. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Yes, they both have 4G here. I think you better stick to getting a SIM from AT&T, as I'm not sure if Verizon's SIM is compatible with non-Verizon iPads.
  6. JazzG thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2009
    Cool thanks for that, when I get there I'll just ask the hotel where the local shop is and pick it up from there.
  7. nostresshere macrumors 68030

    Dec 30, 2010
    Or, go to maps.google.com

    You may find things the hotel has no clue about.

    By the way, you may find some wifi to handle things and save going the paid route.
  8. JazzG thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2009
    Yeah that is a good idea as well! I'm going to be travelling all round the place in New York so would be handy to have a net connection available whenever I need it. Also am rather curious to try 4G as we don't have it here in the UK and the our 4G when it eventually does come out won't be compatible with the iPad 3!
  9. TheKricket macrumors member

    Mar 12, 2012
    I just got back from New York last week. You DEFINITELY want to go with Verizon (if possible).

    AT&T - especially in Manhattan and the surrounding areas - is practically unusable.

    No issues with Verizon, though - works like a charm - and super quick.

    EDIT - you definitely won't get a real taste of 4G if you go with AT&T - the data rates there were just horrid - my Verizon iPad, however, was zipping along like nothing. In fact - I actually preferred the Verizon service to the free hotel WiFi - it was just much, much faster...
  10. JazzG thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2009
    Verizon it is then! Will the SIM work ok in my iPad as Night Spring says there may be issues? Also is it like AT&T where I can just walk into any store and pick their SIM up?
  11. Night Spring, Jun 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2012

    Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    Well, not like I have any experience putting a Verizon SIM into foreign iPads (I have a Verizon iPad myself), so the other poster may well be right. It's just that I know for sure that AT&T SIMS will work, and I've heard that Verizon uses a different LTE technology from AT&T.

    I've also heard of people with Verizon iPads who needed replacement SIMS having trouble picking one up at Verion stores. That was right after iPad 3 was released, so might have had to do with store reps not being familiar with the new device. I haven't seen any new posts about that recently, but if you do get a Verzon SIM, I'd be interested to hear how your experience went.

    EDIT: Just noticed that the other poster mentions his "Verizon iPad" -- could it be he had a Verizon-model iPad he bought in the US, rather than one bought in another country, which would basically be the AT&T model?
  12. TheKricket macrumors member

    Mar 12, 2012
    I'm not sure which SIM cards go with which devices (that's something you'll have to research). I actually have a US version Verizon iPad. I originally had the AT&T version, but the speeds were abysmal in Chicago (where I live and work).

    So far, I've had my iPad in Chicago and surrounding areas, Sarasota, New York and New Jersey. I'm definitely very happy with the speed and service I've gotten from Verizon in those areas.

    I hope I didn't confuse anyone - IMO - Verizon works FAR better in NY and NJ. Whether or not your particular iPad will enjoy LTE speeds on Verizon's network, however, is just something that I am not very familiar with...
  13. wallman macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2012
    From what I understand, all International iPads are of the AT&T variety, and therefore you need to get an AT&T microsim. Verizon iPads are only available in the US.

    Would be worthwhile checking out AT&T's website to locate a store close to your hotel.

    The fall back from AT&T 4G is naturally AT&T's 3G service. My first hand experience with AT&T 3G's service was adequate to abysmal at times. It really depends on location. I was in NY last year using my iPad2. I'm planning another trip next year and would be using the new iPad.

    But 3GB for $30 should easily last you a week or more. But if you get some good LTE speeds, then better monitor your usage. I used about 500 Mb the week I was there and a good chunk of that was because I forgot to turn on WiFi when I was back in my room.

    Free WiFi is also available at Starbucks and MacDonalds. The 5th Ave Apple store has great WiFi speeds. I just couldn't handle the crowds when I got down and quickly left.

    FYI, you can cancel your 30 day plan on the last day you are there and still use the data. When you 'cancel' what you are doing is ensuring that another charge of $30 won't be deducted form your CC at the end of 30 days.

    I have waited to cancel when I returned to Canada on WiFi with no issues.
  14. Shownarou macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2008
    Newton, IA
    Verizon is a CDMA carrier, therefore it doesn't use a SIM card. You will have to go with AT&T.
  15. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    For 3G service, that's correct, but for LTE, Verizon also uses SIM cards.
  16. JazzG, Jun 21, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2012

    JazzG thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2009
    I think I might fire an email across to Verizon to check with them as well.


    Just rang Apple up and gave them my serial no and lady seems to think it should work with Verizon, she couldn't comment on the 4G compatibility though. Have also sent Verizon an email as well and hopefully they will let me know as well.
  17. Little E macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2012
    Ok - here's the deal.

    International/AT&T iPad 3 = GSM worldwide plus AT&T LTE in the US.
    Verizon iPad 3 = GSM worldwide (including the US) plus Verizon 3G/LTE in the US.

    If you have an international iPad 1, 2 or 3 and are visiting the US use AT&T.

    I think (maybe) the only thing you could get working on a Verizon SIM with an international
    /AT&T iPad is Edge - search for Verizon iPad 3 on AT&T - its discussed in detail. You will definitely not get Verizon 3G or LTE.

    A Verizon iPad 3 (important to note the 3/new iPad for this) will work on AT&T network in the US - will get the AT&T HSPA+ but will not get the AT&T LTE.

    Live internationally and can get a US iPad 3? - buy Verizon. It will have the exact same functionality when outside the US - just like a international/AT&T model. In the US you can then choose between Verizon with up to LTE -- or AT&T with up to 3.5G. Depending on where you will be traveling check coverage maps for the carriers to determine which is better for your intended visit. AT&T 3G is considered faster and more reliable than Verizon 3G if visiting a place with equal 3G coverage but without Verizon LTE coverage.

    I do not know if you have a Verizon iPad 3/inactivated AT&T Sim combo if you can activate and set up an account like normal on the device. You may need to find a work around for that - I'm not exactly sure - but someone on these brds does know - or it's been discussed in some other threads. It has to do with IMEA numbers and the carriers tracking devices on their networks.

    AT&T = 3gb for 30 USD per 30 day cycle
    Verizon = 2gb for 30 USD per 30 day cycle plus hotspot functionality

    The note about a US address (use your hotel) and a US credit card is important. Sounds like on AT&T if you have an AMEX you might be ok (don't think so on Verizon). If having problems - go to a drug store or supermarket and buy a gift credit card (30 USD credit will cost something like 35 USD).

    Once you have deactivated your account because you have left the US - you can easily start up again if using AT&T once returning to the US.

    If on Verizon - and you have had your account deactivated for longer than 5 months your SIM will be toast. You will need to get a new SIM upon returning to set up a new account. You can pre-purchase a Verizon 4g sim on the Internet for something like 5 bucks plus shipping to have on hand for when returning. Or if using Verizon, in the US and know you are returning outside of 5 months go into a store and purchase one for 10 bucks (non-corporate Verizon stores seem to be more friendly in selling 4g sims). You knight get lucky and get one for free. Who knows.

    I went thru a similar decision matrix last month on this subject when getting back home for a couple weeks (currently live in Europe). Purchased a Verizon iPad 3 and was/am very happy. LTE in Manhattan is very good. You will also not have problems finding free wifi there too. The hotspot functionality when traveling for multiple devices was the selling point. Plus Verizon has better coverage for where I was going / would be visiting in the future. LTE will burn thru data quick - be warned.

    BL - if you have a international iPad 3 and visiting the US - use AT&T. If you have a Verizon iPad 3 you have some choices and research to do.

  18. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Aug 8, 2008
    I live and work in Manhattan, and I have consistently gotten at least 25mbps down/20 mbps up on my AT&T iPad 3. Sometimes its much faster than that. I'm not sure what part of the city you were in. Did you actually have an AT&T LTE iPad with you to compare?

    One thing to note is that with AT&T is that what they call "4G" is actually HSPA+, while LTE is LTE.

    In any case, you can't go wrong with either a Verizon or AT&T iPad since both will perform well here. However, it may be a little easier to get a sim from AT&T since Verizon can be a little shady at that for some reason.
  19. JazzG thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2009
    Thanks for the info Little E, looks like I will just stick with AT&T to be on the safe side! Haven't got an AMEX card so I'll just find a place to pick up a gift credit card and use that.
  20. Little E macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2012
    Don't forget to make sure the gift credit card is activated before leaving the store - they should do it right there for ya. AT&T stores are also all over the place - you won't have any problems. You won't have problems finding Starbucks either plus many other stores for free wifi.

    New Apple store at grand central was cool. My hotel happened to be right next door.

    Don't get lost going for a run in central park - 8k can quickly turn into 14k before you know it - enjoy your travels!
  21. alice68 macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2012

    Thanks Little E for this very complete explanation. Now, just to get things clear in my mind : I live in Europe but will be travelling to the US next week and plan on purchasing an IPad. Based on your comments, I would be better off purchasing a Vierzon which would give me a better connection while in the US (LA), but also work "normally" when I am in Europe, correct? My only question is, when I am in Europe, can I put a European Sim in a Vierzon (or even AT&T) Ipad? I will mostly be using wifi, but for the times I need 3G data access I would like to have that option.

    I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

    Thanks again,
  22. JazzG thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 9, 2009
    lol, don't worry I won't be going for a run in Central Park anytime soon or anywhere else for that matter!
  23. Little E macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2012
    Cool thing about the iPad is they are unlocked. You will have no problems with either a Verizon or AT&T model using a European sim.

    They will function just like one you would have bought in Europe (when in Europe).
  24. alice68 macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2012
    Great. Thanks very much!! :=)
  25. ant69 macrumors regular


    Feb 2, 2009
    I'm looking at this from another angle, i have a AT&T iPad 3 and am going to England shortly for a few weeks - what payg data plans/carriers would people recommend/have experience of? thanks!


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