How much more am I really paying for the 4G iPad?

We all know that a 4G model costs $129 extra for the same configuration as a corresponding wifi model. But that is just the beginning. The real cost is the cost of actually using the service. That will add up. And when you start using the hotspot facility the costs will add up. Not to mention the cost of overage. That can come back to haunt you every month!

So what are the real costs? Well it depends on several factors. One of which is whether you use AT&T or Verizon.

Here is a screenshot from Apple’s website comparing the rate plans offered by AT&T and Verizon

The 250 MB plan from AT&T for $15 a month is a joke. Expect to run into that limit very fast – may be in a day or a week at most. So you can start with the 3 GB plan. Or going with verizon the 2GB plan.

So the actual cost is something like 30 dollars every month in addition to the 129 dollars. But that is not all. If you exceed the limit, you need to pay $10 per GB that you go over. That can add up as well.

And finally the hotspot. If you ordered a verizon you are in luck. They offer the hotspot facility for no extra charge, and it is already available. AT&T has not offered it for free yet. Considering that they are still thinking about it, it is likely that they will charge an additional 10 or 20 per month for that. If that is the case, and if you have not already bought one, better go for a verizon. I chose AT&T just because my current plans are all with AT&T. But that is no longer a good reason if they will charge separately for a hotspot.


  1. Spacey

    I work from home, so the times I need 4G/LTE are few, but it is great to have when I do. I am paying $5/month with Rogers (Canada) for 10MB (20MB for first 6 months), but the plan automatically converts to $17 for 250MB (500MB for first 6 months) if I go over, and $37 plan if I go over that, up to 5GB (10GB for first 6 months). This automatic switching is excellent, as the biggest surprise I’ll likely have is an extra $20 charge. Rogers Wi-Fi hotspots across Canada are free and numerous. Another plan is to share my 6GB iPhone data plan ($25) with the iPad. However, I use a family plan, so this is not available to me. Given that I pay this bill out of my company funds, so no sales taxes and a write-off, the total I would pay out of my own pocket in a 5/10GB month is $17.80, but the usual fee will be $2.40/month for the 5/10MB fee, for me it is an excellent rate structure.

    1. JohnVarghese

       @Spacey Thanks for the details. I bought the AT&T version of the new iPad. So far I have only been using it as I was using my wi-fi iPad. I have not taken it outside my home. Not sure when I will need to.
      One bad thing about the AT&T plan is that it will not automatically convert to the next higher plan. I heard it just stops. Not sure how it works though. May be you have to buy a new block when the first one expires.

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