Net neutrality? Please. Take a look at where Verizon’s data plans for the new Apple iPad — aka the Apple iPad 3 or third generation Apple iPad — are going. They’re too expensive and limiting — and unnecessarily complicated.
If you do opt for a data plan over just WiFi, beware. You’ve got an incredibly complicated list of expensive options to consider. Plans range from $20 to $80 for one-month, non-recurring plans to $30 to $80 for recurring plans. Here’s what Verizon offers on its site.
So I spoke to my local Verizon sales rep here in Austin.. The main difference between plans, he said, is that a non-recurring one comes without strings attached — no activation fees, no overage charges — and you’re able to set it up post-purchase. When you reach your data limit, Verizon will simply cancel your service. Game over.
With a recurring plan, you get the convenience of monthly, automatic billing. If you do go over your allowance, Verizon charges you $10 for each GB consumed over your plan. Ouch.
Both plans allow you to connect up to five devices with a mobile hotspot. If you already have a phone on the Verizon network, that allows you to create the hotspot, too, but then you’re stuck at the 3G level.
Our exec ed Joy Ma talked to her Verizon rep in San Mateo, California. She got the same information — but with a twist. The rep said tablets are typically used for email and, in the Silicon Valley area of California, the 5GB plan is most popular. The 10 GB plan, the rep said, is as close to an unlimited plan as Verizon offers.
My rep in Austin, though, told me the average user only needs 1 to 2GB. Our Todd Moore adds an interesting perspective to the discussion in his excellent 411 podcast. He points out that, because of the new hi-res HD Apple iPad display, games are going to take a lot more firewire.
Considering that the Apple iPad also is an entertainment device, that 2GB isn’t going to cut it. Streaming video and music — those bandwidth hogs — would blow you out of that plan. Chances are at home or at the cafe you will automatically connect to WiFi. Todd Moore says he’s going to avoid data plans altogether.
Whatever you do, do not use the plan internationally, if you do opt for it. Your roaming charges will be astronomical.
Just connect to local Wifi and keep that tablet powered down when you are not using it. Don’t even turn it on until you are in range of WiFi. Keeping WiFi and location-based services turned off will save battery life — and, ideally, keep you from hitting the data wall.