Question about buying a Wi-Fi + Cellular model vs. specific carrier option

Discussion in 'iPad Air Forum' started by argon, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. argon

    argon
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    Let me start off by saying that my wireless experience is limited to a six-year-old pay-as-you-go AT&T cell phone ($25 / 25 minutes per 90 days). I'm about to buy my first iPad, and would have done so a few moments ago, except for this: Initially I thought I'd get the Wi-Fi only model, since I really don't need (at this time / don't want to commit to) monthly carrier service. But, I thought that maybe someday I would regret that decision and wish I had bought the Wi-Fi + Cellular model "just in case." For $130 more, I'd risk it, thinking this would be a lot cheaper than maybe / possibly buying an entirely new, fully-featured iPad someday in the future. But as I selected my desired options on the iPad Air "Shop Now" page, the last option was forcing me to select a carrier (one of four offered) and saying that the iPad Air would only work with the carrier I select (right now, when making the purchase). I was (naively?) thinking that I could make that decision later on, with carrier selection / implementation made via connecting the iPad with the carrier's local rep or website. So, if I'm not ready to commit to any carrier service at this time--let alone trying to figure out the best deal for my (unknown level of wireless/cellular air time use)--am I forced, then, to just buy the Wi-Fi-only model? Please advise. Thanks.
     
  2. JewelGarden

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    Hi Argon

    The iPad Air is equipped to function on all types of cellular networks. So if you change your mind about the carrier you want, find a better deal, or travel outside your provider's area, you can fairly easily switch to a new carrier and a new plan by swapping out the SIM card. Now, please be aware that carriers have some restrictions so you may need to go into a store to get activated with a new carrier (dropping in an old phone SIM card won't work, for example).

    Purchase away and enjoy your new iPad without cellular anxiety! You're in for a treat!
     
  3. argon

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    Well, I happened to call Apple to check to see if military-related purchases via Apple's Gov/Military program would be tax-free (no, and BTW, no discount on the iPad Air), and the rep & I got into a discussion about carriers. She mentioned that I would be restricted by the operational type of cellular service provided by a specific carrier, and that this would be important because I would not be able to change carriers if one used (for example) GSM and the other used CDMA.... What's the validity of this concern? (And how do I start a new paragraph here with paragraph break / blank line? Hitting the "Enter" key doesn't do it.)
     
  4. scifan57

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    It's of no concern at all. In fact, the only difference between the AT&T and Verizon iPad Air models is the SIM card that comes with it. For example, you can remove the Verizon SIM card and insert an AT&T SIM card and connect to the AT&T network without a problem. You should be able to use the same iPad Air with almost any cellular carrier in the world.

    Read this thread for the details. http://www.ipadforums.net/apple-ipa...s-first-global-mass-market-mobile-device.html
     
  5. zstairlessone

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    If you know which carrier you are more likely to go with in the future get the one for that carrier (it will have the SIM for that carrier) or you can get the AT&T as they let you start and stop the monthly use and billing from the iPad making it easy to activate for a trip say you are going on next month - activate from settings take your trip, de-activate and you only owe that month for a bill based on the data you setup for. For me this is an easy way to hedge for those extended out of WiFi periods that may come up.

    The other thing, you get the GPS chip with the cellular iPad, not with the WiFi only model, but can purchase a BT GPS device if you get/already have the wifi only model.
     
  6. argon

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    JewelGarden and scifan57 -- Thanks for the info. Scifan57 - that was a very informative link. I'll be making the purchase soon. ***** (OK, I still can't start a new paragraph.) ***** Zstairlessone -- that idea and feature with AT&T sounds really good. My concern is that I go on vacation every year to New Mexico. (Recall that I have AT&T cellular service.) A few years ago I was in Espanola (north of Santa Fe) and could not connect to Santa Fe (well, OK, there were a couple of mountain ranges in the way...); I had to use the land line of the place I was in. I asked a couple of people but forget which cellular carrier people mostly used there.... What would be your second choice, if any other carrier allows episodic service? The Verizon web site has four comparative USA maps showing nationwide coverage; Verizon seems to have the best coverage; not thrilled with their (relatively expensive plans). Well, I don't spend that much time too distant from Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Gallup; AT&T just might be best, all things considered. Thanks, everyone. (This will probably be my final logistical concern before getting the iPad and figuring out how to use it. Thanks for your patience.) *********(New Paragraph)******** PS -- Has anyone purchased their iPad Air directly from T-Mobile in order to take advantage of their offer of free 200MB/month? I'd go ahead and pay the sales tax if it was worthwhile. However, upon reading their plan, it seems that upon exhausting that free 200MB you are automatically /seamlessly kicked into a monthly contract plan for that month; I'd want to have a choice to stop at 200MB or their requesting consent to going into the paid plan.
     
  7. scifan57

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    BTW, to start a new paragraph, simply tap the return key twice.

    See, a new paragraph is the result.
     
  8. argon

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    Thanks!................OK, it's not working for me.... hitting the return key (Enter) many times..................................... BTW, I'm going with AT&T -- getting tired of strategizing hypotheticals.... But what is not hypothetical is the problem with Pad resprings and reboots that I read about as I searched the web for other info. I think I'll stand aside for a few days / couple of weeks until this bug is sorted out. Hopefully it's only an OS7 bug and not a hardware glitch.
     
  9. jimt29

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    I have the iPad Air with T-Mobile. I also have a FREE program called DataMan that watches my data usage. I haven't approached the 200mb limit but DataMan is supposed to warn you when you do.

    I got the T-Mobile plan because I don't plan on using the cellular service very much and it really is FREE. If you choose any other network there is a monthly charge and this I didn't want. I've had the iPad Air since November 4th and have not experienced any reboots or resprings.
     
  10. Danceking

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    I dont get why ANYONE would want to buy a celluar iPad device i really don't .. Unless they don't have a mobile phone. If you have a mobile phone well certainly this is the case in the UK. You can tether your iPad to your phone. I have a mobile phone and i get 8GB of data to my phone i'm currently using about 2gb of data so there is 6gb of data that i am not using.

    If you have a smart phone then simply look at altering that contract and tethering your iPad to it (Tethering is connecting your iPad to your iPhone or smart phone device by bluetooth then using the mobiles data allowance). It will save you money on the original purchase of the iPad plus will save you the monthly expense.

    Most times i use an iPad is at home or when i'm stationary out an about in coffee shop or at work and most places i use my iPad i have wifi connectivity of some sort. For the odd occasion i don't i can tether it to my phone or when i'm travelling on trains etc. I also have a broadband contract that allows me to connect to 10's of thousands of wifi spots around the UK In fact around the globe for free specially at coffee shops mcdonalds train stations you name it.

    So again i don't need celluar check out your mobile phone and see if you can tether you iPad to it the speed is the same as having its own sim card it will save you additional expense and make sure you get the most out of your current contract or pay as you go sim.
     
    #10 Danceking, Nov 16, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013

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