iPad Which cellular iPad Air to buy?

shadetree

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 11, 2014
6
0
I'm a little confused with the info out there on the latest cellular ipad air. From what I read all are unlocked and that the main flavors sold are ATT/T-mobile/Verizon/Sprint but that all of them are essentially the same and have the same cellular radio capacity (I am looking at out of contract, full-priced purcase). The only exception being that Sprint only allows Sprint-marked ipads on their network. Does this mean that the Sprint ipad is actually the most versatile in terms of cellular network comparability?

The reason I am asking I am looking at buying a sprint version (MF024LL/A or MF025LL/A) at Target and want to make sure I'm not missing anything (or limiting myself) that I could get on the ATT or Verizon versions of the ipad. I am actually not that interested at the time in a Sprint data plan (though that day might come) but I am kind interested in T-mobiles free 200MB plan since I plan to use mostly on wifi but may occasionally use the 4G data if T-mobile is really offering 200MB for life on any new ipad bought from any carrier.
 

shadetree

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 11, 2014
6
0
Verizon is the one to get.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1710039&highlight=verizon+version

This takes some time to sift through, but it is discussed here also:


http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1659761&highlight=verizon+version

I have a Verizon mini retina, and I am successfully using a T-Mobile sim for the free 200mb.
From what I have read it is easier, but possible to use any ipad air on a Verizon post-paid plan but harder on a pre-paid plan unless a Verizon unit. As far as sprint, they only seem to accept ipad with a sprint ESN. The reason I am more leaning towards SPrint (though I realize they have worse nationwide coverage than verizon) is their pre-paid plans seem much more attractive.
 

1k9

macrumors member
Feb 24, 2014
94
6
I went Verzion air and went straight to tmobile sim for the free 200
 

Kangda

macrumors member
Feb 27, 2014
87
0
Sprint coverage is terrible where I live, so I personally would never have picked the Sprint version. Even though I am using the T-Mobile sim, I wanted to have the flexibility to use Verizon if need be. Since the Verizon version will work with Verizon, T-Mobile, and ATT (but not Sprint), the Verizon version was the one to get.
 

s2mikey

macrumors 68020
Sep 23, 2013
2,462
2,521
Upstate, NY
I've been pleased with my ATT version so far. I don't use the cell data much but everytime I have it's been a super strong signal with fast LTE speeds. The $25 for 1GB over three months is a decent plan too. It doesn't auto renew either.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,851
30,368
Boston
Which carrier as the better coverage? I'd go with VZW but that's because I'm a customer and they seem decent. If you have ATT as your phone carrier then go with them, otherwise choose the carrier who has the best coverage in your area.
 

1k9

macrumors member
Feb 24, 2014
94
6
Choose your fall back carrier then try tmobile for free and see it it fills your needs, now that I have Tm up and running so far I don't feel the need to switch back to my fall back carrier (Verzion)
 

rui no onna

macrumors 604
Oct 25, 2013
6,799
3,089
Sprint iPad: can be used on any carrier (although getting it to work on Verizon involves pre-activating the SIM on a Verizon iPad)

Verizon iPad: can be used on AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon

AT&T iPad: can be used on AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon (although getting it to work on Verizon involves pre-activating the SIM on a Verizon iPad)

T-Mobile iPad: can be used on AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon (although getting it to work on Verizon involves pre-activating the SIM on a Verizon iPad)

Imho, best bet is Verizon iPad. Their LTE coverage is better than Sprint's and the iPad can also be used on AT&T's and T-Mobile's network.
 

HenryDJP

macrumors 603
Nov 25, 2012
5,087
829
United States
Yep same here, I went with Verizon for my Air although I use Sprint for my iPhone 4S. After reading online about how versatile a Verizon iPad is (although their rates are higher for less MB's) then seeing that Verizon's LTE coverage was significantly larger it was a no-brainer.

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Same here. Actully waiting patiently for my T-Mobile sim to arrive via UPS this afternoon.
Could you explain how that works? So as I mentioned I bought a Verizon iPad Air a couple of days ago. If I wanted the T-mo sim would I have to buy it from T-mo, or does a customer just walk in a get one for free, or this only for existing T-mo customers?
 

rui no onna

macrumors 604
Oct 25, 2013
6,799
3,089
If I wanted the T-mo sim would I have to buy it from T-mo, or does a customer just walk in a get one for free, or this only for existing T-mo customers?
I just ordered mine online when TMo had one of their $0.99 SIM card sales.
 

HenryDJP

macrumors 603
Nov 25, 2012
5,087
829
United States
I just ordered mine online when TMo had one of their $0.99 SIM card sales.
Okay, I'm really confused now. I just spoke with T-mobile about getting a sim. I have the Verizon iPad Air. They said their sim won't work with my iPad because Verizon iPads are on CDMA and T-mo is on GSM. So how are so many people here with Verizon iPads getting the T-mo sim to work? :confused:
 

rui no onna

macrumors 604
Oct 25, 2013
6,799
3,089
Okay, I'm really confused now. I just spoke with T-mobile about getting a sim. I have the Verizon iPad Air. They said their sim won't work with my iPad because Verizon iPads are on CDMA and T-mo is on GSM. So how are so many people here with Verizon iPads getting the T-mo sim to work? :confused:
The iPad Air is universal and has both CDMA and GSM hardware. Heck, the only CDMA-only iPad was the iPad 2. From iPad 3 and newer, they'll work on GSM, granted speeds might be limited to HSPA or EDGE. Just get a SIM card and do a SIM swap yourself. By the way, I have an older Verizon iPad 3 on T-Mobile.
 

tasdisr

macrumors member
Jul 31, 2007
41
5
My wife just bought me a new verizon ipad 4 and I replaced the verizon sim with a tmobile sim with no problems at all.
 

HenryDJP

macrumors 603
Nov 25, 2012
5,087
829
United States
The iPad Air is universal and has both CDMA and GSM hardware. Heck, the only CDMA-only iPad was the iPad 2. From iPad 3 and newer, they'll work on GSM, granted speeds might be limited to HSPA or EDGE. Just get a SIM card and do a SIM swap yourself. By the way, I have an older Verizon iPad 3 on T-Mobile.
My wife just bought me a new verizon ipad 4 and I replaced the verizon sim with a tmobile sim with no problems at all.
Thank you both very much. Looks to be that T-mo isn't hiring capable employees. All that campaigning is a waste of money if their employees are turning away potential customers due to lack of product knowledge.
 

shadetree

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 11, 2014
6
0
Thanks for the feedback I lucked out as Target had a online return in their store of a 32GB Sprint Air for $510+$30 gift card that appears to have never been used. I figured at that price its still cheaper than a wifi only. The electronics guy was pretty adamant it would only work on Sprint so glad I asked here first.
Its a gift for a family member but I will have the T-mobile card ready for next week to try out (there isn't a specific SIM for tablets right?)
 

scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
6,626
342
Okay, I'm really confused now. I just spoke with T-mobile about getting a sim. I have the Verizon iPad Air. They said their sim won't work with my iPad because Verizon iPads are on CDMA and T-mo is on GSM. So how are so many people here with Verizon iPads getting the T-mo sim to work? :confused:
Simple: the T-Mobile rep you spoke to doesn't know what they're talking about.

I bought a Verizon iPad Air, and it is in fact using a T-Mobile SIM right now. All iPad Air models have the CDMA, GSM, HSPA+ and LTE radios installed.
 

rui no onna

macrumors 604
Oct 25, 2013
6,799
3,089
Its a gift for a family member but I will have the T-mobile card ready for next week to try out (there isn't a specific SIM for tablets right?)
No specific SIM for tablets but there are different SIM card sizes and T-Mobile might lock SIM cards to the device it was activated on.

iPhone 5/5c/5s, iPad Mini/rMini/Air: Nano-SIM
iPhone 4/4S, iPad 3/4: Micro-SIM
iPhone 2G/3G/3GS: regular SIM

I don't have a cellular iPad 1 or 2 so no idea what size SIM card those use.
 

1k9

macrumors member
Feb 24, 2014
94
6
I did have an issue with TM sim, when I bought the sim at the TM store they scanned an iPad mini for the imei and it did not work in my air, I had to go to TM yesterday, they couldn't get the sim to work, they ended up replacing the sim and put in the imei from my iPad and now all is good, it was a pita, but now I'm happy?
 
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tbarney

macrumors member
Feb 17, 2012
66
0
Yep same here, I went with Verizon for my Air although I use Sprint for my iPhone 4S. After reading online about how versatile a Verizon iPad is (although their rates are higher for less MB's) then seeing that Verizon's LTE coverage was significantly larger it was a no-brainer.

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Could you explain how that works? So as I mentioned I bought a Verizon iPad Air a couple of days ago. If I wanted the T-mo sim would I have to buy it from T-mo, or does a customer just walk in a get one for free, or this only for existing T-mo customers?


My understanding is you can walk into the T-mo store and purchase a sim and start a free 200meg per month account, but I decided to purchase the sim online from t-mo. Based on other posts I've seen on the forum, it should be as simple as installing the t-mo sim and setting up the 200meg free account. I was expecting the sim last evening via UPS but because of the weather delivery has been delayed until this afternoon.
 

HenryDJP

macrumors 603
Nov 25, 2012
5,087
829
United States
My understanding is you can walk into the T-mo store and purchase a sim and start a free 200meg per month account, but I decided to purchase the sim online from t-mo. Based on other posts I've seen on the forum, it should be as simple as installing the t-mo sim and setting up the 200meg free account. I was expecting the sim last evening via UPS but because of the weather delivery has been delayed until this afternoon.
I went into a T-mo store yesterday and asked about the sim. They did say it would work in the Verizon iPad Air but the 200MB card is not available at their store. The prices start at $10/mo for 500MB. I'll call them today. Something has got to give, everyone else here including you are getting the 200MB sim.
 

Kangda

macrumors member
Feb 27, 2014
87
0
I went into a T-mo store yesterday and asked about the sim. They did say it would work in the Verizon iPad Air but the 200MB card is not available at their store. The prices start at $10/mo for 500MB. I'll call them today. Something has got to give, everyone else here including you are getting the 200MB sim.
There is no specific 200mb card. You just get a new T-Mobile nano sim. You stick it in the iPad Air/Mini Retina, then you activate it. You either activate it as a pre-paid plan or post-paid plan.

If you activate it as pre-paid, you do not have to provide any billing info. All you provide is your name, email, and birthdate. You get the free 200mb for the life of the tablet every 30 days.

If you activate it as post-paid, you can also choose the free 200mb, but for billing purposes, it attaches to your voice plan or existing T-Mobile account. Even if you have an existing T-Mobile account, you do not have to activate the free 200mb as post-paid. You can set it up as pre-paid and keep it entirely separate.

I believe the $10/month for 500mb is if you are post-paid and have an existing T-Mobile plan. It is normally $20/month for 500mb, but if you are post-paid, you get a $10 discount, making it $10/month instead of $20.