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Old 30-09-2015, 11:17   #1
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USA iPad pay-as-you-go SIM

For reasons that are a bit long to explain here, our cruising life currently involves motorcycles and trying to stay warm . To that end we are leaving Canada and driving around America for the coming months.

I'll be taking my unlocked iPad with me, so want to use local SIM cards. Does anyone have a recommendation as to the best service to get for a data-only (iPad) device?
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Old 30-09-2015, 11:30   #2
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Re: USA iPad pay-as-you-go SIM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
For reasons that are a bit long to explain here, our cruising life currently involves motorcycles and trying to stay warm . To that end we are leaving Canada and driving around America for the coming months.

I'll be taking my unlocked iPad with me, so want to use local SIM cards. Does anyone have a recommendation as to the best service to get for a data-only (iPad) device?
I use an unlocked Huwai MIFI and data card... just connect to it and put in password......... you can then use any card you find that is cheap......
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Old 30-09-2015, 12:35   #3
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Re: USA iPad pay-as-you-go SIM

Thanks Weavis. The Huwai might be a simpler solution, although my iPad is already cellular-ready. I sometimes use it to create a mifi hotspot for other devices. Is the Huwai better at this?

Anyway, I'm really just interested in knowing what you folks recommend for cheap/good local temporary provider. I may be in the USA for up to six months, so I don't want to rely on my Canadian provider.

I assume I can get a pay-as-you-go microSIM from a local or national provider, just like with a phone.
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Old 30-09-2015, 12:56   #4
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Re: USA iPad pay-as-you-go SIM

... I am very happy with t-mobile here in Savannah (and the East coast of Florida) for the last months: Prepaid Internet | Tablet & Mobile Internet Prepaid Plans | T-Mobile

MetroPCS is another option I looked at (https://www.metropcs.com/tablet-plans.html).

If you need tethering (share your 'iPad i-net connection') make sure the chosen plan supports this.

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Old 30-09-2015, 14:31   #5
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Re: USA iPad pay-as-you-go SIM

Check out Airvoice Wireless. They're an AT&T MVNO.

You can get pay-as-you-go data at 6.6 cents per MB.

I use their $10/month plan for my phone. That would get you about 150 MB per month. The beauty there is that any unused balance rolls over to the next month as long as you keep paying the $10/month.

Depending on your usage, you might want to sign up for one of their bigger unlimited plans.

I'm not sure if you can activate a SIM directly in an IPad, but if not, you can always activate it in a phone and then transfer it to the IPad.
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Old 30-09-2015, 14:32   #6
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Re: USA iPad pay-as-you-go SIM

Thanks Carsten & Cormorant. I'll definitely check those out.

I didn't realize there were specific tethering plans. I thought this was a function just built into the iPad.
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Old 30-09-2015, 14:41   #7
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Re: USA iPad pay-as-you-go SIM

... it is possible for a provider to 'disable tethering'.

Carsten
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Old 30-09-2015, 16:04   #8
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Re: USA iPad pay-as-you-go SIM

We are in the same boat as you - only in the US for 4-5 months and wanting a data plan. Just like the ones we get simply and easily in every other country we go to. After melting our brains out deciphering the byzantine phone plans and companies that call the USA their home, we went with T-Mobile as linked above and have been very happy.

They are the only one we found that is most like the easy and (relatively) inexpensive data plans we have gotten in other countries. Prepaid, no contract, simple, and they give you 10GB of data as a gift to sign up. Even better than most other country's plans, monthly unused T-Mobile data gets rolled over to use later. The only non-simple thing is that you sign up for a recurring plan and have to remember to cancel it when you want it to stop.

But if you want to look at awe at one of the most complicated and twisted (and protected) industries in the world, do have a gander at the USA cellular phone companies…

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Old 30-09-2015, 16:06   #9
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Re: USA iPad pay-as-you-go SIM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarstenWL View Post
... it is possible for a provider to 'disable tethering'.



Carsten

Yes. For example if you had one of the "unlimited data" at&t plans for your iPhone, you have to give it up before tethering is available.


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Old 30-09-2015, 16:26   #10
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Re: USA iPad pay-as-you-go SIM

I would look at a Verizon. While the other carriers have caught up some, I still find that Verizon provides better speeds and reliability outside of major urban areas. I was in the mountains of Vermont last week and still getting a good LTE signal on Verizon.

In cities, they all work pretty well.

No problem using it as a hotspot

I have a 2nd Ipad mini with ATT for "belts and suspenders" but don't find it helps enough to be worth the trouble and expense.
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Old 30-09-2015, 16:38   #11
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Re: USA iPad pay-as-you-go SIM

I was in Monticello, Ga. last week and no T-mobile phone service. Guy next to me had good service from Verizon.
Not the first time this has happened. Back to Verizon for me.
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Old 30-09-2015, 17:08   #12
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Re: USA iPad pay-as-you-go SIM

Thanks folks. This is all very helpful. I'm with you colemj, this is all ridiculously and needlessly complicated. I've been looking at T-mobile, and they seem good. I haven't studied Verizon yet, but will now (thanks ).

I do expect to be off the beaten path much of the time during our journey. We plan to drive down the west coast; Washington, Oregon, maybe California. Then we expect to head back over the Rockies aiming for Arizona. Most of our time will be spent away from large urban areas. In fact, we might be camping in some pretty remote spots at times.
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Old 30-09-2015, 17:17   #13
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Re: USA iPad pay-as-you-go SIM

For whatever reasons, rational or not, my company preference is T-Mobile, but in my experience Verizon has better coverage in the remote parts of the Western US. Depending on the age of your iPad a new Huawei (or Verizon MiFi device) may have a better radio.
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Old 30-09-2015, 17:23   #14
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Re: USA iPad pay-as-you-go SIM

The problem we had with Verizon is they refused to give us a prepaid plan unless the iPad was bought from them. Since we already had an iPad, this wasn't an option. Verizon is just stupid about this - the iPad and iPhone both come with radios for all frequencies and modes. There isn't a "Verizon version" of these. But Verizon has a list of specific device ID's that they sold, and if your device was not bought from them, they deny service.

Unbelievable to me that people use a company that acts like this. No other carrier had that reservation.

If you are concerned about coverage, all of the carriers have a coverage map on their website. Verizon does have the best coverage, ATT is very close, and T-Mobile has some gaps and some areas that are only 2G.

Parts of Eastern North Carolina are terrible for almost all carriers, as they seem to have a couple of local ones that have a small monopoly around there. Verizon is particularly good there, though.

Remote spots may not have any coverage from anyone because they are, well, remote. If there isn't a tower around, there isn't coverage. All of the coverage maps for all of the carriers have big holes in the Rockies and mountains of WA and OR, but are good along the coasts.

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Old 30-09-2015, 17:30   #15
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Re: USA iPad pay-as-you-go SIM

Depends on the model, the iPad2 has a different version, with different radio capabilities, for Verizon:

Quote:
Wi-Fi + 3G
Wi-Fi + 3G model: UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
Wi-Fi + 3G for Verizon model: CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz)
https://support.apple.com/kb/sp622?locale=en_US
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