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  1. #1

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    iPad 3G Data Plans
    So I'm looking at the iPad 3G data plans from AT&T...where you can get:

    - 250 megabyte of data/month for $14.99
    - 2.0 gigabyte of data/month for $25.00

    My question is...can someone "rationalize" what exactly these data levels mean in real life...in terms of how much actual "internet surfing time" are you actually going to get?

    I totally realize that this is a VERY hard question to answer...since it totally depends on what you're doing & how many minutes or hours/day you're surfing...and how complex/simple various web pages can be....and you certainly shouldn't be watching too many You-Tube videos or watching streaming full length movies.

    I would hate to think that if I paid $14.00 for 250meg of data...that I would blow thru that in like 2-3 days or a week...or if I got the $25.00 for 2 gig of data if I'd go thru that well before 30 days is up....and of course then have to purchase another month of data.

    But if there is someway to "guesstimate" how long these data plans might last the "average user" (if there is such a thing)...I would sure appreciate it.

    Thanks,

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
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  2. #2

    schweb's Avatar
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    New Smartphone Data Plans - Wireless from AT&T

    There's even a calculator you can use to estimate your usage.
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  3. #3

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schweb View Post
    New Smartphone Data Plans - Wireless from AT&T

    There's even a calculator you can use to estimate your usage.
    Thanks Schweb!

    I'm quite unfamiliar with 3G data plans & so I wasn't so sure how easy that sort of info was to come by. Maybe it was easier to find than I thought.

    Thanks again,

    - Nick

    p.s. Pretty scary how fast you can "eat" thru those data plans with a simple standard quality You-Tube video!!! OUCH!
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  4. #4

    schweb's Avatar
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    Yeah and to give you an idea, in the entire year I had my iPhone 3GS, I used less than 2gb of data. But I was also on WiFi most of the time.

    So keep that in mind too...how much will you be doing tons of streaming and stuff over 3G vs WiFi. It makes a huge difference.
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  5. #5

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schweb View Post
    Yeah and to give you an idea, in the entire year I had my iPhone 3GS, I used less than 2gb of data. But I was also on WiFi most of the time.

    So keep that in mind too...how much will you be doing tons of streaming and stuff over 3G vs WiFi. It makes a huge difference.
    Thanks again Schweb. I liked the idea of the iPad data plan of just subscribing as needed. Particularly getting the iPad data plan for an upcoming driving vacation...where someone might do some surfing while in the car (not the driver of course )...get weather forecasts, traffic info, things to do, places to eat, etc.

    I would certainly take advantage of free wifi "hotspots" whenever possible...such as McDonald's & Starbuck's.

    I saw from the AT&T link you provided that with the $25.00 2 gig plan you can visit approximately 4000 web pages. I think to most folks...at first that might not seem too limiting...but then when you think about it a little bit more...4000 web page visits over a 30 day period could get used up rather quickly.

    Hello data plan #2....hello data plan #3...etc., etc.!

    Thanks again,

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  6. #6


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    I recently went on a road trip and was unsure how much 3G i would need. I signed up for the 250mb plan knowing that if I needed more, I could upgrade to the 2GB if my data ran short. As it turns out, the 250 was more than enough. No reason to start off with the 2GB plan unless you're absolutely sure you're going to need it. It's simple to upgrade if and when you need more.

  7. #7

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyyton View Post
    I recently went on a road trip and was unsure how much 3G i would need. I signed up for the 250mb plan knowing that if I needed more, I could upgrade to the 2GB if my data ran short. As it turns out, the 250 was more than enough. No reason to start off with the 2GB plan unless you're absolutely sure you're going to need it. It's simple to upgrade if and when you need more.
    Hey...thanks for that piece of important info!

    So are you saying that if you start out with the $14.99 250meg plan...see yourself getting low (before the 30 days are up on the current monthly data plan)...that you can immediately upgrade to the 2 gig ($25.00) plan for just an extra $10.01 ($14.99+10.01=$25.00)?

    Thanks,

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  8. #8

    eliehass's Avatar
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    I wrote a post here detailing iPad 3G usage. It breaks down in real world usage tests how much data things like video streaming on netflix use.
    shameless plug for my blog

  9. #9


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    Hey...thanks for that piece of important info!

    So are you saying that if you start out with the $14.99 250meg plan...see yourself getting low (before the 30 days are up on the current monthly data plan)...that you can immediately upgrade to the 2 gig ($25.00) plan for just an extra $10.01 ($14.99+10.01=$25.00)?

    Thanks,

    - Nick
    Exactly! Not only that, it will warn you before you run out so you can upgrade. Here's a quote directly from the Apple site: "You’ll receive onscreen messages as you get close to your monthly data limit so you can decide whether to turn off 3G or upgrade your plan."

  10. #10

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyyton View Post
    Exactly! Not only that, it will warn you before you run out so you can upgrade. Here's a quote directly from the Apple site: "You’ll receive onscreen messages as you get close to your monthly data limit so you can decide whether to turn off 3G or upgrade your plan."
    Awesome...thanks a lot!

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  11. #11

    Vroomer's Avatar
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    And if you are super concerned with usage, download all you apps over iTunes on your home system or use a WiFi network so you don't use your 3G.

  12. #12

    1991-C4's Avatar
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    I don't have a 3g iPad, but someone else pointed out this "gotcha" with the AT&T data plan:



    Apparently you have to let them know BEFORE the current month is up that you do not want to renew (unless of course you want to renew).

  13. #13

    schweb's Avatar
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    Auto-renewal is pretty standard for something like that.
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  14. #14

    1991-C4's Avatar
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    I know that the automatic renewal is standard, but they emphasize the point that there are no long term contracts and you can buy service one month at a time. I am sure many people get billed for an additional month they didn't want. Yeah, I know you shouldn't feel too sorry for the people that don't read their contracts, but this is just another example of having to opt out of something you don't want instead of opting in to something you do want.... like having to opt-out of iAd Location Data with iOS4.

  15. #15


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    I've been going with the 250MB data plan myself these last couple of months and it has been more than enough for me as well. Last weekend I brought my iPad to my wife's parent's cabin where they don't have any Internet service other than the 3G signal from AT&T. I had already used up about 25MB of data before we arrived, and by the time we came home, I was just over half of my allotted data after two full days.

    I say start with the 250GB and see what you use up. You should get a warning with you reach your last 20% of allotted data. If you're on wifi most of the time, I suspect it will be enough, unless you want to stream lots of audio and video from the net.

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