Why is 3G so expensive?

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by Arthur3000, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. Arthur3000

    Arthur3000 iPF Noob

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    I don't understand why 3G on an iPad is like £15 a month, but my phone contract has unlimited internet PLUS 2k minutes, 3k texts etc and is still £15 a month with a phone thrown in?

    Are they ripping us off?
     
  2. s2mikey

    s2mikey iPad Ninja

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    I wondered this too. I don't have a fancy cell phone or cell phone plan so when I was shopping for iPads I saw the pricing for 3G and that killed that deal for me. It would cost you like $50 bucks to watch a movie through Netflix or something like that. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating but you get the idea. Why get 3G when you'd be too scared to actually use it due to costs incurred? And, I also heard that it isn't always as reliable as it should be.

    I'm still glad I avoided it and didn't pay for a 3G enabled device. Maybe next time around if they get the cost WAY down.
     
  3. MattIM

    MattIM Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I have a 3G iPad. Yes, data plans are pretty expensive. BUT my use of my 3G is 'just in case'. Just in case I'm driving around Indiana, Michigan, or Ohio-->I have GPS and I have a way to find myself if I get lost, or I need a gas station, or a restaurant. There are many companies that offer free wifi, so I don't often use 3g, but when I need it, I'm glad I have it. Here in the United States, I subscribe to 250mg of data services which is $14.95/month. I would not consider using 3G to stream a movie or a TV show-->that is expensive.
     
  4. Kaykaykay

    Kaykaykay iPad Wizard

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    I pay $30 US for unlimited 3G on iPad on a grandfathered AT&T plan. I consider it a bargain and will keep it unless AT&T cuts me off. That's still cheaper than my grandfathered unlimited 3G plan on iPhone, which is discounted through a corporate deal.

    I use unlimited off contract in Asia, and it's even cheaper.
     
  5. robster2644

    robster2644 iPF Novice

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    Why don't you just get a $15 unlimited data plan plus phone and buy a SIMM cutter and put in the iPad. Makes sense to me

    Sent from my iPhone using iPF
     
  6. Kaykaykay

    Kaykaykay iPad Wizard

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    Carriers are supposed to be able to tell the device you're using through its IMEI number. You could try and see if you could get away with it, but I wouldn't. From what I've read, if they find you've switched outside terms of contract, they will bill you for the difference and/or cut you off.
     
  7. RAC

    RAC iPad Junkie

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    Isn't having two mobile accounts (phone & iPad) part of the problem? If your phone has a cheaper data plan you could tether the iPad to it via WiFi.

    Another option, I have a WiFi only iPad and tether to a pre-paid WiFi/3G router, paid for by my company as it happens, but still reasonably economical.

    Both of these suggestions should conceal the iPad's IMEI number from the service provider:eek:.
     
  8. twerppoet

    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    Carriers offer unlimited plans for phones because they know only a few of their customers will actually use them. Like an all-you-can-eat buffet, they make enough money on nine customers to more than make up for the tenth who went back for fifths.

    Tablets are more like computers in the way they consume data; or at least that is the perception. Carriers are afraid they will end up with a congested network, and lose customers because of it. And of course, they will charge what people are willing to pay. The only thing that cows greed is competition (or regulation, an evil to be avoided if possible). That's why markets with lots of carriers are getting better deals than those of us with only one or two choices.

    This is also why they don't like people who tether without paying the extra fees. From their point of view it's like the guy who shows up at the buffet with carryout containers; or buys one meal and shares it with his friend. If they catch him, he''ll get an extra bill, and a big 'not welcome' picture posted behind the counter.

    The deal is one person gets to consume one meal. The deal is that all data is consumed on the device(s) on the plan.

    With unlimited plans, it is hard to argue with their viewpoint.

    With limited plans though, the customer can argue that they paid for 2GB, and they should darn well get 2GB, no matter how they choose to consume it. Unfortunately the cell phone providers are proving resistant to the concept of giving you an extra plate, or doggy bags. :D
     
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  9. Kaykaykay

    Kaykaykay iPad Wizard

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    Some carriers have threatened to cut people off just because they've seen their usage surge; they don't even cite an IMEI number in such cases. They've essentially warned people to stop tethering or they will be cut off. Basically, the carriers have people, including lawyers, looking for customers who are using outside terms of agreement. You can chance it, of course.

    Some carriers allow tethering; some charge for it.

    I just use what I pay for, according to terms I've agreed to. I'm not interested in tethering.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011
  10. jsh1120

    jsh1120 iPad Addict

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    Don't mean to turn this thread into a political discussion, but the reason that the US has so little competition is because there is little regulation of carriers compared to Europe. By mandating GSM networks, the EU assures that consumers can purchase a phone and move an account easily from one carrier to another. The result is true competition among multiple carriers. In contrast, the US suffers from a subsidized phone purchase business model that not only locks a consumer into a two year contract (much more costly in the long run) but also limits the carriers with which a phone may be used.

    The notion that an unregulated market is a "free" market is not an idea that even Adam Smith would have endorsed.
     
  11. robster2644

    robster2644 iPF Novice

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    I might be wrong, but the iPad is just a iPhone for giants, so actually the data transferred to the phone and the iPad would nearly be same. There's not much more I do on my phone that I don't do on the iPad.

    Obviously when loading web pages there will be a small difference in size, but not much. And if I can remember correctly if I visit a web site that also has a phone enabled site then the phone enabled site comes up on the iPad.

    I don't think that companies would be able to tell with IEMI and I don't think Apple would give it out, because this would be breaking Apples privacy policy as this ID is link to you and the phone not a contract with a provider.

    Apple are able to trace a lost iPhone using the IEMI number but they don't, so what do you think the chances of them giving it to data provider.

    So to that end I don't think they would be able to tell.

    My friend does it in the UK, he has grandfather rights with 3, he pays £5 a month for an unlimited data plan for his old phone and he uses it in his iPad, he's done this for about a year now.

    I'm not saying go out a do it, research it and then make the jump.

    Regards

    Robbie

    Sent from my iPhone using iPF
     
  12. Kaykaykay

    Kaykaykay iPad Wizard

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  13. Heaviside

    Heaviside iPad Enthusiast

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    Yep! Deregulation has unleashed the Wall Street vultures and the banks, created a piranha filled jungle river of the cummunications industry, and led to pandemonium in the air travel industry.

    Have you ever tried to sit down and really dompare the various plans offered by cell phone companies? For me it has been virtually impossible to get a straight story about exactly what plans they offer nor to compare the features of the ones they will discuss with me.

    And it seems to me that mobile data access is way, way too expensive in comparison with wired data. That is the reason I will not want a wireless version of my iPad.
     
  14. s2mikey

    s2mikey iPad Ninja

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    I hear ya - we were considering dumping our home phone service and just doing a cell plan for the whole gang but its nearly impossible to figure out exactly what you get, what you dont get, and what it will REALLY cost. Like any loss leader or "get you in the door" pricing, there are ticky-tack fees and planty of surprises once you get deeper into the details. By the time we figured it all out, it would have cost about the same as a decent car payment per month for the 4 of us to have cell phones with texting and some data. No freegin way.
     
  15. oberkc

    oberkc iPad Fan

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    Because enough people are willing to pay that price, apparently. Sometimes, prices are driven by high demand and, often (always, maybe), companies charge what the market will bear.

    I suspect it is a bit more complicated than that. I, for one, am more likely to stream video on an iPad than on a small-screen phone, for example (otherwise, why whould I have even purchased an iPad given that I have an iPhone?). While the capabilities are similar, I expect the difference in size tends to suggest different uses, more convenient usage experience, and increased data.

    I suspect, also, that this is a factor regarding why the EU is falling behind in 4G network adoption.

    In my area, at least, there are many options for those who want to purchase their phone outright and pay less expensive rates for data, text, and voice. I am thinking clearwire, virgin, Tmobile pay-as-you-go, and several others that I cannot remember right now.

    I also suspect that the population density differences between Europe and the US is a factor in pricing. It seems to me that it is cheaper on a per-capita basis to provide data to dense cities and towns compared to the vast suburbs and large rural areas found in the US.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011

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