iPad Which cellular service for iPad Air - NY commuter

Discussion in 'iPad' started by jazzer15, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. jazzer15 macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2010
    I am planning to replace my iPad 2 Verizon 3G with an iPad Air and am trying to decide which data provider to go with. I commute into NYC several days a week on the Metro North Hudson Line and work in downtown NYC. I have been generally happy with Verizon's 3G network at work, but there are many holes and slowdowns on the train line, where I use the iPad frequently. Also, coverage is spotty in some places close to my home and although I usually am on a WiFi network, sometimes the 3G service comes in handy (e.g., during a power failure) and it would be nice to have service that works. I originally purchased an AT&T iPad 2 when I purchased my iPad a couple of years ago, but I returned it for the Verizon version because, although AT&T's service was generally faster, it hardly worked at all in downtown NYC during peak usage times (e.g., lunch).

    Based on the reading I have been doing, it seems like getting another Verizon iPad may make sense, but I was wondering if anyone else in the geographic area has any experience with it or other providers' services and/or has any opinions.

  2. AppleScruff1 macrumors G3


    Feb 10, 2011
    Why not buy the Verizon version so you can test it with T-Mobile and AT&T SIM's and see which gets the best service in your area? You have to activate the AT&T and Verison SIM's before it will show service and LTE availability. Each company has a small one day non recurring plan for $5 so it's pretty easy to test it.
  3. joeshmo2010 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    AT&T's network is much better today than it was two years ago in NYC. I'd give them a try again, but also, verizon does have their faster AWS LTE bands running in NYC so they might be faster. Try both and see which one works best for you.
  4. donnaw macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2011
    Austin TX
    The good news is that all iPads now have the same chips so they all work on all networks. From reading though, it seems Sprint won't activate one on their network unless it's bought specifically for Sprint. But even if it's a 'Sprint' iPad sims from the other networks will work too.

    Verizon seems to have much the same policy but people are managing to get ATT/TMo iPads activated.

    So if you even think you might use Sprint, get one of those, knowing that you can easily move networks. If you think you might stay with Verizon then stay with them but pick up sims for ATT/TMo and try them

    As stated above, carriers now have one day trials so you can try each out pretty cheaply.

    It's great that the decision is now so simple. You're no longer locked to a carrier.
  5. s2mikey macrumors 68020


    Sep 23, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    I don't use it much but the 4G LTE service from AT&T screams in my upstate NY area.
  6. shenan1982 macrumors 68040


    Nov 23, 2011
    Buy the Verizon model. You can always chose your carrier from there. VZ's iPad will work with anyone (YMMV on Sprint), whereas it can be a challenge getting Verizon to activate a T-Mo or AT&T iPad.

    Plus the resale value on the Verizon iPads are slightly higher, if that's important. :)

    For service, I'd recommend AT&T or Verizon, but everyone has their own thoughts and opinions on service providers.
  7. jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2010
    Thanks everyone. I'm going to go with the Verizon model and try the others with sim cards as suggested. Given my usage to date, the Verizon 1GB plan has been most cost effective for me, although with LTE speeds I suppose I may find myself using more data.
  8. Jades macrumors 6502

    Oct 15, 2012
    Definitely give AT&T a try. Get the verizon model and ask an apple rep for an AT&T SIM

    I find verizon LTE to be VERY SPOTTY in NYC
  9. Julien macrumors G4


    Jun 30, 2007
    You are thinking of the iPad 2. All Air and Retina Mini's are the same once you remove the (your) SIM. So there is no Verizon model/advantage. It just comes with the carrier's SIM which you MUST remove to sale.
  10. jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2010
    Am I correct in my understanding that it is easier to get an AT&T sim for a Verizon model than vice versa? Some people seemed to be reporting that Verizon stores wouldn't give them/sell them a sim card without a post-pay plan. Also the Verizon model can be used as a hotspot, correct?
  11. wxman2003 Suspended

    Apr 12, 2011
    Yes, Verizon is a stickler. Bringing an AT&T model to Verizon can be a pain. You just cant swap sim cards. They have to enter the IMEI into their system.
  12. njchris macrumors regular


    Sep 14, 2007
    I've got the Sprint Ipad Air and NYC I get LTE almost everywhere I go in manhattan. In NJ I get LTE where I live and surrounding areas, otherwise it's 3G (which is slower but still works for browsing, etc)

    I can't speak for the Metro Line, but I got a 2gb plan for $15 a month, which is cheaper than all the other carriers.

    I did do the 2 year agreement so I got the extra $100 off, but I know I can use another sim for any network including Sprints so I have more options later.
  13. Zaft macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    spint lte is non existent downtown. don't even try to sell the OP sprint.. its terrible and i have sprint..
  14. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    It's not the Verizon *model* that works as a hotspot -- as other posters have said, all Air models are the same, hardware-wise. It's just that Verizon's data plan allows use of an iPad as a hotspot. If you can talk Verizon into activating an AT&T iPad on their service, then you will be able to use it as a hotspot.
  15. shenan1982 macrumors 68040


    Nov 23, 2011
    Untrue. Verizon models have serials that are white listed with Verizon.
  16. njchris macrumors regular


    Sep 14, 2007
    I just was walking all around NYC yesterday and everywhere I went I had LTE. Some indoors (like the waldorf astoria) it went to 3g.

    Just relaying my experience.
  17. jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2010
    Just thought I would follow up with my experience so far. I purchased a Verizon iPad Air, but actually haven't used the Verizon service so far. I used T-mobile with a SIM card and it wasn't too bad. There seemed to be some dead spots on the commute and areas where things slowed down, but it wasn't awful and I was getting 200mb for free.

    Last night I installed an AT&T SIM and purchased a small amount of non-renewing data as a trial. Things seemed OK on the commute this morning and I will test it more extensively on the way home. But even though I am getting LTE at the office downtown in the financial district, the speed is unacceptably slow. I ran 3 speed tests and was getting considerably less than 1 mbs down and even less up. Web pages open at a snail pace. It was better this morning, probably before everyone got to work and started using their mobile devices, but this is unacceptable.

    This is exactly why I switched to Verizon on my iPad 2. Things just slow to a crawl by mid morning. I'll continue to use up the data, but so far, I am not impressed. If Verizon is no better, I may just use T-mobile. At least I get some free data.

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