Which to Buy? AT&T vs. Verizon for Hotspot and Europe

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Scudder!, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. Scudder! macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2012
    I've done tons of research and can't quite seem to get any clear answers. I plan to buy the new iPad but have two competing desires: to use the hotspot in the US (which favors Verizon) and to travel internationally (mainly to Europe) frequently (which favors AT&T). Advice is welcome. The questions that I can't seem to find answers to are:

    1. What are Verizon's international roaming rates for iPad data? (for one time use, not a monthly plan). AT&T's are high but at least international data plans are available and work easily.

    2. Is the Verizon hotspot feature one that works NOW? If I buy the new iPad, does it just turn on when I buy a data plan?

    3. Do any carriers in Europe plan to use 4G/LTE so that buying one version versus the other makes sense when I swap in the local microsim card? From what I can tell, no one seems to know the answer.

    4. Does anyone know what carriers, if any, in Europe support the hotspot feature? I'm mostly interested in France and Spain.

    Thanks so much.
  2. dontwalkhand macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Both iPads are unlocked, so pick the one you would prefer to have service with in the United States :). AT&T all the way if you prefer an HSPA+ Fallback from LTE, and Verizon if you prefer to have 3G all over the continental United States (at EVDO speeds though).

    The Verizon one will even work on AT&T HSPA+ if you decide you don't like Verizon.
  3. dread macrumors 6502a

    Jun 16, 2009
    Both iPads work the same abroad. Lte will not work in Europe for either carrier as European countries will use different frequencies.

    Why would you want to use an iPad to roam internationally. Just pop in a foreign sim and pay a fraction of the price. both iPads work on European 3G networks and both are unlocked.


    How about Verizon if you prefer not to fallback at all to 3G. In the next 12 months they will have most of the country covered with LTE. We might see this from AT&T in 6 years.
  4. thatoneguy82 macrumors 68000


    Jul 23, 2008
    Beach Cities, CA
    As far as the carriers are concerned, I have no knowledge of them. Also, I think you may be unable to roam internationally since its prepaid (could bed wrong). The hotspot works instantly. You kind of have to give it a "push" from network settings before it shows on the settings menu. No data plan restriction.
  5. santamonica8, Mar 30, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2012

    santamonica8 macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2012
    Using new ipad - verizon sucked in France

    I just got back from a week in France with the Verizon new ipad thinking I would be able to just log on and buy a month of French service through Verizon, which is what the apple store recommended. Not true. Verizon was undetectable and unbuyable anywhere in Paris.

    I found zero Verizon hotspots in Paris.

    Internet even which was supposed to be free in hotels I was staying at was either frequently down, or useable only in the lobby, not in your actual hotel room. Another foible in thinking you have internet.

    Paris has wireless going on which incorrectly named itself "Free Wifi" with an open lock, but these aren't free, require a credit card, extensive verification steps, and don't let you get on.

    Even cafes where you're sitting at to have a meal, frequently limit the log on time to 15 minutes.

    I found France to be extremely behind the times with the whole wifi concept. Unless you have a French credit card to purchase French Orange service - expect 10 different login screens, and then finally be still denied wifi access.

    I don't know if AT&T would have been a different, better experience.

    If I went back to Europe I'd find a way of buying a sim card. But even then, I heard that orange France, the main cellular data provider, will only let you purchase these if you have a credit card based in France with a French address. Weird.
  6. santamonica8, Mar 30, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2012

    santamonica8 macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2012
    Verizon new iPad did not connect to Starbucks Free Wifi in Europe

    Additionally, I visited two different Starbucks in Paris which were to offer free wifi to every guest, without use of a code or anything. The two guys I asked who were using traditional PC laptops were getting free speedy wifi, no problem, but my new iPad would not log on to the Starbucks free wifi at all.

    Some might chalk this up to user error as an explanation for so many failed attempts to connect to the internet with my ipad while in France, but I'm super computer savy and a software developer, so I don't think it was me.
  7. wayland1985 macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2008
    Did you end up deciding?

    I'm going to Portugal in a few weeks, and Im considering trading up my iPad wifi to the 4g...
  8. robanga macrumors 68000


    Aug 25, 2007
    not so weird...i travel to the UK and Europe about once a quarter and in most countries i go to UK, France, Germany, Spain and Scandinavia, free Wifi is about as elusive as Bigfoot. Its simply has not caught on over there and there is little pressure competitively to provide it. Sure there are expensive carrier networks in many places but Hotels are often slow and expensive. I believe once or twice i found free wifi on the trains in the UK and France (in first class), i believe some coffee shops and McDonalds have it but even that is rare and country by country.

    I always buy the expensive roaming packages from AT&T, about $199 usually gets me through a trip.
  9. Holoshed macrumors regular

    Mar 24, 2011
    North Carolina
    I experienced this last year while I was traveling to Norway, Germany and Denmark last year to visit my fiance's family. The hotels charged for internet usually and finding it anywhere else was a pain in the neck.

    The sim I did end up buying to use gave me hassle (got it at some truck stop in Germany, had to end up trashing it.) I wish I had done more research for Germany since I was there the longest without any Internet but I was using an iPhone 3GS which I found out (even software unlocked) did not work well with their frequencies.

    This year when I go I will use my iPad and buy a sim card cutter before I go. My fiance is in Norway and I can use her phone when I need to (helped her get MyWi working on it) but I still need to figure out what I can do for my iPad if we go out. I know for sure I do not want to sign up for anything with a contract but she does have a Norwegian address so we will see.

    As for which iPad, as others have said it does not matter. Both will work overseas if you find a usable sim card (or cut it down.) I have seen mentioned in other threats to check expat forums for the countries you are visiting as you will find better info there.

    As an American who has been through the eastern parts of Europe, I will say first off do not expect to take anything from the USA in terms of carriers and it work UNLESS you are POST PAID only. If you are post paid and are willing to eat the cost and low transfer allotments then you can just work near out of the box (for AT&T, not sure about Verizon.)

    Money wise, just go to a cell phone store in the country you are at and see what prepaid options you have, but I strongly suggest reading up before you go so you know what carriers to look for or the hoops you need to jump to get one.
  10. robanga macrumors 68000


    Aug 25, 2007
    The roaming packages from AT&T and Verizon expensive but they work and your iPad is active the moment you land. No hunting down Sims etc.

    I typically start the plan from the airport in the US and when i get there it works, they send a message confirming the purchase.

    I only have experience with AT&T but i am assuming its just as easy with Verizon

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