Verizon vs AT&T: Which New iPad LTE Plan is Right For You?

With the Apple’s new iPad set to launch on Verizon and AT&T’s 4G LTE networks, you’re probably wondering which carrier will best suit your web surfing needs without bruising your wallet. Luckily for you, that’s what we’re here for. We’ve poured over the numbers and present our findings below.

It’s worth noting that none of these plans are structured as long-term contracts, but are instead offered on a month-to-month basis.

Verizon

Big Red is advertising three 4G LTE data plans for the new iPad. The first, a 2GB a month plan, will run you $30. Verizon’s 5GB plan will cost you $50 a month, while its high-end 10GB plan rings in at $80 a month. The biggest benefit to Verizon’s iPad plans is that they allow users to take advantage of the new iPad’s hotspot feature, without piling on an additional fee.

Verizon typically charges users an additional $20 a month to activate a device’s hotspot feature. But with the new iPad at least, that fee is nonexistent. By offering free tethering the Verizon iPad effectively becomes your MiFi, allowing you to get laptops and other devices online from the road at no additional cost. Go over your data limit on any of the aforementioned plans, however, and you’ll have to fork over an additional $10 per 1GB of data used.

 Verizon 4G LTE Price Overage Fees Cost per GB used
2GB  $30/ month $10/ 1GB $15/ 1GB
5GB  $50/ month $10/ 1GB $10/ 1GB
10GB  $80/ month  $10/ 1GB $8/ 1GB

 AT&T

AT&T’s basic $14.99 plan, as always, is a bad joke that should be avoided.  For that price, you get just 250MB of data, an amount so small you could burn through it just by checking email a few times. If you do make the mistake of going over the 250MB limit, AT&T’s overage fee is another $14.99 for each additional 250MB of data used. If you download 1GB movie with this plan, it’ll cost you close to $

Any consumer who can do basic math will opt for at least the $30 plan, which provides 3GB a month of data, 1GB more than Verizon provides at the same price point. Go over that 3GB limit and you’ll be hit with a $10 fee for each additional gigabyte used. AT&T’s top-of-the-line data plan offers 5GB of data at a cost of $50 a month, the same price as Verizon’s 5GB a month plan. Like AT&T’s 3GB plan, the 5GB plan also includes a $10 overage fee for each additional gigabyte used.

However, the biggest issue with AT&T’s plans is that they don’t include a free hotspot feature like Verizon’s do. AT&T has already gone on record stating that their version of the new iPad will not support Wi-Fi tethering at launch. That may change over time, but as of this moment, it’s a strike against the AT&T.

On its other devices, the company currently requires users to purchase the $50 a month 5GB data plan in order to even use Wi-Fi tethering. If AT&T hopes to compete with Verizon it needs to offer free tethering at any plan level on the new iPad.

AT&T 4G LTE Price Overage Fees Cost Per GB used
250MB $14.99/ month $14.99/ 250MB $59.96
3GB $30/ month $10/ 1GB $10/ 1GB
5GB $50/ month $10/ 1GB $10/ 1GB

Conclusion

If tethering matters to you — and if you have a laptop, it should — Verizon is the carrier to turn to for your new iPad needs. However, if you don’t take any other computers on the road with you but your iPad, AT&T does offer more data at the $30 sweet spot. That said, we have yet to test how the tablets function on either telecoms’ network. But when we do, we’ll publish the results.

AUTHOR BIO
Daniel P. Howley
Daniel P. Howley
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media’s Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
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