iPad2 Wifi+4GB Data Plan on iP4 vs iPad2 3G+250MB Data Plan+Unlimited Data on iP4

Discussion in 'iPad' started by sampdoria, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. sampdoria macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2010
    Option 1: iPad 2 Wifi + 4GB Data Plan on iPhone4 = $45/month for data
    Option 2: iPad 2 3G + 250MB Data Plan + Unlimited Data on iPhone 4 = $45/month for data

    I currently have the precious Unlimited Data Plan on my iPhone 4 from AT&T, and will be getting my first iPad 2 very soon. Looking at both options above, I think I am going to relinquish my Unlimited Data Plan and give Option 1 a go!


    1. I will have my iPhone with me at all times, therefore, why not use it to tether the iPad.

    2. My data usage on my iPhone has been, frankly below 2GB/month on average. Therefore, unlimited data hasn't been beneficial to me.

    3. The 4GB Data Plan seems reasonable to be shared between both devices. I see myself using one device or the other (not both at the same time) for data usage. Therefore, if my iPhone data usage remains at or below 2GB/month on average, then that leaves 2GB or greater/month for the iPad (250MB just isn't going to cut it I feel).

    4. Save $130 for the Wifi version and not be tied down to expiring 3G technology.

    If I go with option 1 (tethering). How is the data usage performance on the iPad? Is it a hassle to turn on/off tethering on the iPhone every time you want the iPad to use the iPhone's data?

    Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Thanks in advance!
  2. Sandman1969, Nov 14, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011

    Sandman1969 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2007
    I would go with Option 1.

    We bought 2 iPads recently. My wife had the 2GB data plan. We bumped hers up to the 4GB tethering option, which gives us more data usable on the iPad, since she rarely goes over 300-500mb on the iphone. Usually under 200.

    I still have the unlimited plan on my phone but I have never gone above 1GB and I am thinking of doing the same thing to mine. Though, I do most of my iPad usage at home. So I will probably hold off until I am away without her.

    I wish they had a lower tethering plan. Since she uses so little data for the most part. Though you can enable/disable tethering as you need it.

    It is very simple to do Tethering over Bluetooth. WiFi as well, but we have only done the BT.
    Basically, enable personal Hot Spot, and pair the devices. Occasionally, you may want to turn it on and off. But it is simple.

    Another thing to think about, is getting a 4G HotSpot device. Though the data plans generally start at a higher price point but you can get faster speeds.
  3. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
  4. Sandman1969 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 5, 2007
    LoL, I was typing that and went to check. They don't have that anymore. They used to many moons ago. I forgot to fix before I posted.

    Anyway, you can still turn tethering on and off as needed. And not get charged the full month as they will prorate the charge.
  5. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    I have a 4G/LTE hotspot from Verizon that I use with my wifi iPad. My hotspot gives me 5gigs per month for $50 and I use it for both the iPad and my laptop when I'm traveling. (It's as much as 15 times faster than the "free wifi" provided by the hotel.) Once you've used 4G/LTE you'll find it very difficult to go back to 3G. (It's about 1/6th to 1/10th the speed of 4G/LTE.)

    I find that if I travel more than 2 weeks per month, using the hotspot for both my iPad and my laptop, I come close to using 4-5 gigabytes. (Lots of audio streaming from Pandora and internet radio and occasional video is what eats it up. Otherwise, I'd never come close.)
  6. sampdoria thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2010
  7. djransom macrumors 68040


    May 14, 2008
    If you go with option 1 make sure you keep an iPhone charger handy because it can and will hit your iPhone battery and quickly. I tried option 1 initially and ended up going with a 3G iPad 2 with a 2GB data plan for $25.
  8. MrKennedy macrumors member

    Aug 8, 2011
    Keep the unlimited iPhone data! I purchased the iPad 2 with 3G and it's been a valuable companion. You only need to pay for the 3G service on an as-needed basis. I utilized it a lot while I was traveling this past summer, but now that I'm back on my regular schedule commuting between home, university, and my internship I've been doing just fine using wifi.

    Obviously choose what you think will work best for you, but once that unlimited data is gone you'll have a hard time getting it back.
  9. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    Having gone the route of purchasing a 3G based iPad 2, I have learned that a 4g hotspot device is the way to go. The speeds are right up there with wifi.

    Unfortunately the drawback is carrying a second device, but to me it's work it.
  10. jsh1120 macrumors 65816

    Jun 1, 2011
    I see the reference to avoiding a second device frequently but frankly I don't understand it. My mobile hotspot is the size of half a deck of playing and weighs three ounces. And as you point out, once you're used to download speeds approaching and surpassing 10 mg/p/s it's very difficult to put up 3G speeds.

    That's not to say that there aren't downsides, of course. The monthly cost ($50) is significantly more expensive than the 3G iPad plan (on Verizon), but it also provides 5 gigs of downloads rather than 2. And if I didn't use any data in a month, I cannot turn it off. (Not a problem for me because I travel a lot, but it can be for others who use cell networks only occasionally.) And finally, the mobile hotspot lasts about 5 hours on a charge, compared to up to twice that for the iPad. But I'm almost never away from a power outlet for more than five hours and have literally never depleted the hotspot's battery.

    To each his/her own, of course, but I wouldn't trade 4G speeds on multiple devices for 3G service on the iPad alone.
  11. fastd macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2010
    With option 1, your ipad thinks its on a wifi connection. This means you can use facetime, and install apps of any size. Plus you have a shared pool, 4gb for movies on the ipad, 3g streaming that is.

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