iPad 3 LTE comes to Verizon, and all hell breaks loose

Summary:I hate to say it, but I told you so.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that less than a week after being delivered to customers, Verizon iPad 3 users are already getting hit with large overage charges to the tune of $10 per gigabyte.

This is a result of Apple's new HD+ tablet's ability to download data at broadband-like speeds (10Mbps+) and thus enabling bandwidth-intensive applications such as Netflix, Hulu+ and even large app downloads themselves to quickly consume a 5GB or 10GB monthly data plan allotment in a matter of days.

You know, it's funny, I could swear I heard this someplace before.

Oh yeah! I predicted this scenario almost exactly back in December of 2010. Over a year ago.

If you don't feel like reading the original piece, here's the Cliff's Notes version:

If you’re looking to become a Verizon LTE subscriber, keep in mind that at the $50.00 a month data plan, it will will buy you 5GB of data.  For the business user that emails a bunch of PowerPoints and does a ton of email and needs to use Web, Intranet and thin client applications over VPNs, this should be more than sufficient.

But I’ve now learned the entire thing comes to a screeching halt — or results in a big-ass AMEX bill in service overages if you start trying to do more ambitious stuff with it, such as suck down Netflixes or large iTunes movies.

Sascha Segan determined in his tests that when watching Netflix in Standard Definition, with a 1500Kbps stream, you’ll burn through your entire monthly allotment in under seven and a half hours. With 720p Netflix movies, at 3800Kbps, that’s just under three hours.

That’s roughly equivalent to the same amount of HD iTunes films, about one and a half movies.

Now, what I could not predict back in 2010 was that the iPad would eventually end up with a Retina screen which would also cause an App Obesity epidemic.

Also Read:

Your average end-user might be aware that downloading Netflix, Hulu or iTunes movies over LTE will chew up a data plan quicker than a school of Amazonian piranha devours a wayward calf, but what they may not be aware of is that just downloading certain types of iPad apps themselves will do it almost as quickly.

As I explained in some of my other pieces this last week, the new HD+ screen on the iPad 3 has caused many apps to double, triple or even quadruple in size because storing graphics at double the resolution requires four times the pixels.

[Edit: In a previous draft of this article, I showed a screen shot of some of the largest apps (500MB+) stored on my iPad. As it has been mentioned in the comments and elsewhere, the iPad will prevent you from downloading applications bigger than 50MB over a LTE connection, and will also prevent iTunes movie downloads as well.

However, if you are using a 4G LTE smartphone or a MiFi as a wireless access point for a Wi-Fi iPad, nothing will stop you from downloading a very large application or an iTunes movie.]

I happen to be one of the lucky ones in that I use my Android 4G LTE smartphone as a wireless hotspot for Wi-Fi based devices, and that I am on the "Grandfathered" $50 per month unlimited all-you-can eat data plan which I'm locked into for at least the next two years.

But many iPad 3 owners are coming to Verizon and AT&T as new customers.

So users which are on these metered data plans need to be extremely conscientious of not just streaming media, but downloading actual apps on the device over a 4G connection and should reserve this activity for Wi-Fi only.

Is the iPad 3 going to give a lot of LTE customers "sticker shock" end of month billing statements? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topics: iPad, Mobility, Networking, Verizon, Wi-Fi

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet is a technologist with over two decades of experience with integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer... Full Bio

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