Which IPad 2: Verizon Or AT&T?

Posted: Mar 6 2011, 7:58pm CST | by , in Shopping | Apple


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Which iPad 2: Verizon or AT&T?
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Your comprehensive guide to getting the most bang for your buck.

Whether you're a long-time Apple fanboy or just a tablet lover in search of satisfaction, this Friday is going to be an extreme test of your ability to not spend $499. The iPad 2 launch on March 11 may well be the tech industry's biggest launch of 2011. Two to three million are expected to sell this month alone.

If you have your heart set on a 3G iPad 2, you're about to be posed with a difficult choice. Do I go through Verizon, or AT&T for my data service?

First off, here are maps of both carriers' coverage areas: Verizon and AT&T. Depending on where you live, that could be enough to answer your question right there.

For the rest of you, we'll have to delve into the question of just which carrier has the better 3G service deal.

AT&T offers both pre-paid and post-paid options. The post-paid plan charges you only $10 per 1 GB over your allotment, as opposed to $25 for 2 GB over. Both plans offer either 250 MB of data ($15) or 2 GB of data ($25) per month. AT&T is also offering new iPad 2 customers one month of free service if they take the $25 per 2 GB option.

Verizon offers more plan options than their competitor. You can choose 1 GB ($20), 3 GB ($35), 5 GB ($50) or 10 GB ($80). If you're a heavy user looking to stream/upload a lot of video or otherwise use the hell out of their iPad 2 data connection, Verizon is your better buy.

But if you can stay in WiFi range most of the time, and you just want 3G for checking your email and the occasional emergency situation? AT&T's 250 MB plan might make sense. However, for $5 bucks more you can upgrade to 1 GB with Big Red. Which would allow you to do a fair amount of browsing on-the-go.

It's also worth comparing overage prices. While AT&T offers either $10 per 1 GB over or $25 per 2 GB over, Verizon's starts charging $15 at 250 MB over, goes up to $20 for 1 GB, and then back down to $10/GB for every other plan option. So, while that 1 GB package may be more convenient on normal months, your "emergency" months will be much more expensive.

Last, we come to a question of speed. In the last round of tests, AT&T came out as the "fastest". But that means wildly little unless you spend your days travelling around the country. AT&T users in New York City know that their network isn't the fastest. There's no easy answer to this question.

You're going to have to do some legwork.

Here are the AT&T customer forums and here are the Verizon customer forums. Your best bet is to find people using those networks who live in your area. You have the better part of a week before the iPad 2 launches. There's no excuse for not doing a bit of homework.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/5" rel="author">Robert Evans</a>
The excitement about new smartphones, tablets and anything mobile drive Robert to unearth the latest rumors and developments in this fast moving space. He adopted 4G as soon as it become available and knows where the mobile market is going.
Robert can be contacted directly at robert@i4u.com.




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