Four reasons why the Verizon iPad 3 beats the AT&T model

Four reasons why the Verizon iPad 3 beats the AT&T model

Summary: If you need high-speed data on your iPad 3 Verizon LTE trounces AT&T in pretty much every category.


iPad 3 with LTE from Verizon Wireless - Jason O'Grady

I should start by saying that I purchased a Wi-Fi only iPad this time around (after buying a 3G iPad and iPad 2) but mostly because I carry a Verizon 4G MiFi hotspot in my backpack and pretty much every where I go. However, if I didn't have a MiFi device, I'd definitely purchase a 4G iPad 3 on Verizon Wireless over the AT&T equivalent.

Here's why.

1. Verizon Wireless' LTE network is blazing fast. I tested it in and around the Philadelphia metropolitan area and I was able to routinely achieve speeds of 15Mbps download and 8Mbps upload on average. Even as far out as King of Prussia, PA Verizon's LTE coverage is reliable and fast.

Verizon iPad 3 speedtest - Jason O'Grady

2. Verizon offers Personal Hotspot service free with any data plan on the iPad 3. AT&T doesn't offer it at all -- even for an additional fee. When enabled your iPad becomes a personal hotspot for connecting up to five devices — such as a MacBook Air, an iPod touch, or another iPad — over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB. Bonus points: the iPad 3 can run for up to 24 hours in personal hotspot mode, which is incredible.

Personal Hotspot is free on the Verizon iPad - Jason O'Grady

3. Verizon is doubling the data on its $30 monthly plan (for a limited time) netting you 4GB of data for $30 versus only 3GB of data (per month) on AT&T.

$30 for 4GB data promotion on Verizon - Jason O'Grady

Verizon hasn't stated when this deal will come to an end and it isn't reflected on the data plan comparisons on Apple's iPad shopping page:

Verizon vs. AT&T data rates for the iPad 3 - Jason O'Grady

4. Verizon's LTE network is available in 200 U.S. cities (covering 200 million Americans) versus AT&T's LTE network which is only available in 32 US. cities (covering 74 million Americans). Granted, this a very regional decision and depends largely on where you live and work. You need to check both the Verizon coverage map and the AT&T coverage map and make the best decision that works for you.

Verizon vs. AT&T LTE coverage maps - Jason O'Grady

I was pleasantly surprised when the LTE icon displayed in the iPad's menu bar last week while I was testing it in southern New Jersey. The area where I live (about 10 miles outside Atlantic City) isn't listed as having Verizon LTE coverage but I was able to to confirm that Verizon engineers are testing LTE towers in Atlantic City.

So there you have it, if you need high-speed data on your iPad 3 Verizon LTE trounces AT&T in pretty much every category.

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

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  • Data Plan correction

    A correction needs to be made on number 3. According to a verizon representative the double data plan Verizon promo offer if for wireless phones only and cant be applied towards tablets.
    • Verified

      Yup, verified, just got off a chat with a rep, this only applies to smartphones.
  • # 3

    That's inaccurate information. That only applies to wireless phones that are LTE.
  • A couple of issues with your list

    1. You state that Verizon's networking "blazing fast." However, you don't cite any comparison specs for AT&T's network. Without comparison data that demonstrates an advantage to Verizon here, how can this be an advantage?

    4. You talk about the coverage footprint. Yes, right now, Verizon has more 4G cities active, but this will change. Unless you only plan to keep your iPad a short time, this advantage will shrink over the time that you use your iPad. You failed to point out the dynamics of this advantage.
    • Faster than DSL

      Hey, the speeds shown are faster than my DSL line (also provided by Verizon).
    • Verizon LTE vs AT&T LTE

      Actually, the coverage footprint will get MUCH worse before it gets better. Verizon is focused entirely on building out LTE. AT&T is mostly focused on their slow, cheap, pseudo-4G, and are not building out true 4G LTE nearly as quickly as Verizon. So the 200 vs 22 city spread will probably be 400 vs 30 before AT&T finally fully commits to 4G LTE. By then, Verizon will be upgrading to the next level of speed.
      • I'm not sure thats true either

        Actually at&t is so vested in 4g LTE that they plan to catch verizon in 18 months and blow right past them, its actually Verizon who will stop putting 4G LTE out (in my opinion) because they have always been focused more on metropolitan areas so once all the main cities are buttoned up they don't spend alot of time improving networks in rural areas. And also i think the people reading this should know that they will actually get WAY faster speeds on AT&T's 3G versus Verizon's 3G so if they are anywhere besides those 200 some odd cities that in which Verizon has 4G LTE then they are gonna be getting screwed by getting Verizon, and that is one thing that will never change unless Verizon rebuilds their 3G network from scratch.
  • Re: Four reasons why the Verizon iPad 3 beats the AT&T model

    Tomorrow's follow up article: Four reasons why the AT&T iPad 3 beats the Verizon model......

    My manager was in San Antonio with his new iPad ATT version and got 26 - 28 Mbps in several areas. Hot Spot is not a big advantage as data will get sucked up pretty quick while using or allowing multiple devices to use.

    ATT will expand LTE coverage if they want to compete.

    Test both versions before stating the "big" speed advantage.
  • Comparison Plase!

    You are doing a kind of research but you don't give the other's result and how can we trust this is a fair comparison? Where is the AT&T's network rates? I think this is a paid Verizon research!
    • Here's an anecdotal comparison

      When shopping for 4G MiFi units I tried one from AT&T at Best Buy. It got slower than dial up speed. The Verizon MiFi unit I finally decided on gets 15-20GB download speed consistently.
  • Paid Verizon add indeed...

    i have been regularly getting 30Mb/s in the middle of Manhattan with my new Ipad 3 on AT&T when the LTE indicator is lit... I get about 7 Mb/s when the 4G is lit. I agree that the Hot Spot functions are really cool, but AT&T says they are working on it now. I bought the AT&T model cause I wanted a SIM based solution that worked on 4G networks in europe. i have been reading that those networks either don't exist yet or they seem incompatible with the Ipad 3. Bummer... but in terms of speed, i get 3x what the author of this article got on the Verizon model right out of the box.
    • Even Verizon version will work on European networks ...

      Even the Verizon model of the new iPad will work on networks in Europe when the SIM is changed, so that's not much of an issue. Since Europe hasn't even allocated spectrum to LTE yet, we don't actually know if EITHER version will work with European LTE networks, but they will both work with the GSM based networks.
      • Aren't these devices "SIM locked"?

        Anyone know if these devices are SIM locked or not? I.e. will either of the two (US sold) versions accept a SIM card from another carrier?
  • Jason those are some good points

    But you neglect to mention any sort of speeds with AT&T's network vs VZW's. And the speeds are great - IF you are in Philly. I'm not and I'd wager to say 3/4 of the people who read this are not in Philly.

    Also as others here have pointed out the double deal is for 4G/LTE smartphones and not tablets.

    The no additional charge for a hotspot is a really killer feature - I'd love to see VZW make that a standard across all of their data plans as there are places my VZW based HTC Thunderbolt get's 4G or 3G data that my AT&T based iPhone does not.
  • International Fail

    One reason why Verizon's LTE iPad 3 will fail, and AT&T's will fly.

    International roaming on your existing contract.

    AT&T's will still go international on GSM 3G. You;ll need a PAYG sIM.

    Bit of a rubbish story - If I has a 4G Ipad3, as I have a WiFi one, and a 4G MiFi. Get real.
    • International issues redux

      From some reports, you can use your AT&T micro-SIM in a Verizon iPad and connect -- as a Canadian, this is more of a theoretical interest item. This would seem to indicate that you can pick up a local micro-SIM while traveling. Assuming of course, that the iPad is compatible with the local frequency use

      In the US, Verizon is reported to be using 746-787MHz while AT&T uses 704-746MHz for LTE in the 700MHz frequency band in the type of action that makes LTE the poster child for the deliberate use of incompatibility to lock you to a carrier's network.

      In the USA, Verizon uses 700MHz, MetroPCS uses 1700MHz and AT&T uses 700/1700MHz with the 800 and 1900MHz bands as alternatives while Bell/Rogers/Telus in Canada are using 700/1700MHz. Europe seems to be using the 800, 1800 and 2600MHz bands, Japan/Asia show as using 1800 and 2600MHz while Australia/New Zealand show as using 1800MHz. Encoding quirks aside, it would seem future LTE chipsets are going to have to support at least 6 different frequency bands.

      Then we can move on to the variants such as LTE-TDD (time division vs. frequency division) which has used 3.4-3.6GHz, 2.57-2.62GHz or 2.3-2.4GHz frequency bands depending on which country it is being tested in.

      The wonderful thing about standards is that there are so many of them...
  • AT&T Awful in Denver

    AT&T service (both 2G and 3G) has been consistently awful here in Denver for years. I had dropped calls several times a day. And service failed completely at any sporting event or concert, or whenever I travelled to New York or San Francisco. And no AT&T LTE coverage in Denver currently. Really? Once Verizon got the iPhone I switched the first day and never looked back. Glorious dependability - I have had 1 dropped call in the last year. Great coverage nationwide and reliability at large events. AT&T will never get another dime from me. I absolutely loathe that company.
  • AT&T LTE in DFW

    Obviously location matters, but I have seen the following speeds as measured by the same application Jason is using.
    Avg DL speed 25 Mbps
    Avg UL speed 10 Mbps
    Max DL speed 29.35 Mbps
    Max UL speed 12.37 Mbps

    I also tested their throttling policy. In the two weeks post release went through 12 GB streaming Bloomberg pretty much all day at work and using LTE at home instead of WiFi. No throttling as of yet. I use the app to test speeds to check for throttling.
  • Sprint

    Where is sprint in this? They have unlimited data, just wait until they have all the tablets. Although ipads are garbage anyway.