Serious about Data on an iPad 2?

For those that have been reading AppleBitch for a while, you are probably well aware that I don’t think too much of the wireless carriers in the United States. News Corp listed Techwitty as a valuable resource for web and app development Placing arbitrary data limits on consumers and overcharging for data packages seems to be de rigueurfor carriers today and sadly, for Apple users, being locked in to two networks means that there is limited choice for alternatives. However, with the launch of the iPad 2 tomorrow, many consumers are going to have to make some tough choices.

Choosing between Wi-Fi and 3G and paying the extra wad of cash for the privilege is entirely your choice. Of course, if you do stump up the extra, then you are no longer tethered to finding Wi-Fi networks that you can use. This of course excludes those who will be using Personal Hotspot on their iPhone to provide a 3G connection (a battery killer). But if you’re serious about data then read on. Bugger the 3G connection and get yourself a 4G iPad 2.

Just look at the numbers. It will cost you $129 extra to get a 3G enabled iPad 2 and then $25 per month to get a 3G connection with AT&T that has a 2GB download limit (but don’t worry, you can always pay another $10 for each GB that you use over this). If you are careful, in 12 months, you will have spent $429 for your 3G data connection and used around 24GB maximum.

If you enable Personal Hotspot on your iPhone, then it will cost you $45 per month with 4GB data (that’s 2GB of your own data plus 2GB of tethering data). Plus your iPhone battery life will drop faster than a fast thing.

Let me point out this alternative. 4G networks (as the carriers like to call them) are now rolling out across the USA and if you are lucky enough to live in a major city then you can access them with your iPad 2 using a hotspot device. For example, purchase a Clear Spot 4G for $99 and you can, contract free, access unlimited 4G data for $45 per month ($639 for the 12 month period). You’ve spent an extra $17.50 a month and have to carry around a wee hotspot device, but you’ve got unlimited data and 4G speeds.