New iPad owners get ready to feel the LTE data cap

New iPad owners get ready to feel the LTE data cap

Summary: The new iPad is going to expose millions of owners to the joy of 4G LTE monthly data caps.


LTE is nothing new, it's been out for a while. That doesn't matter, as pretty soon a lot of new iPad owners are going to dip their toes in the 4G/LTE pool for the first time. It will be as fast and amazing as it always is for those making the jump from slow 3G to lightning fast LTE. That means before long we will start hearing from those new iPad owners who are regularly crashing up against the LTE data caps the carriers have in place, and it's not going to be pretty.

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The Android smartphone world is well versed in the benefits of LTE, as phones have been shipping with that capability for a while. Having broadband speeds in your pocket is a heady thing, but you quickly learn to pay close attention to how you use it lest you butt up against the data cap early in the billing cycle.

Keeping an eye on usage is not that hard for a phone, as the small display limits how it can be used anyway. That's not the case for the iPad, a device that is designed for content consumption. I'll bet we see new iPad owners streaming hi-res video to take advantage of that Retina Display, only to discover that the LTE data well has run dry in a hurry. What are they going to do then turn off the LTE plan, or pay $10 per extra GB? It's going to be fun to watch.

Topics: iPad, Mobility, Networking, Wi-Fi

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  • Spoil Sport! Kill Joy! Dasher of Hopes and Dreams.

    Gee and I was so wishing to enjoy my 4G experience this March 16th.

    BTW, James, a question which has not cropped up yet is this. Will the new iPad sim slot accept the iPad 2 micro sim?

    I have the AT&T grandfathered true unlimited 3G data plan and I wonder if I will be able to swap sim cards with my new iPad and still enjoy that benefit.

    Only time will tell, I guess.
    • Right until AT&T throttles your data ...

      ... to painfully slow speeds ...

      Although you could sue them and win (as one user did, for $800 or so).
      • I actually experienced the AT&T slowdown once, Kludd.

        My home DSL modem ceased to function and it took me a week to get around to replacing it. During that time, I used my iPad for home internet access.

        Towards the end of the week, my internet download speed had slowed down perceptively. It was not a pleasant experience.

        I understood what was going on, of course, but I didn't like the practice of data throttling, non-the-less.
  • Well..DUH

    The 3G ones had caps too....

    Care to come up with more zingers?
    • Yes, and how many people are streaming HD movies over 3G?

      His point is that data will be eaten up faster, not that there were no previous data caps.
  • The trick...

    Connect to a WiFi hostspot whenever possible. WiFi is becoming ubiquitous. Think of your 4G data plan as an emergency alternative. It's what you use when you're in the car, or trapped in an airport with only pay-to-play hotspots.
  • RE: The 3G ones had caps too....

    Yes, but with the slow speeds of 3G its hard to do things that hit the caps, the lowest youTube resolutions are barely watchable on 3G. HD youTube will cap you quickly.
  • Only 22% of phones sold have 4G capability

    "The Android smartphone market is well versed in the benefits of LTE" maybe some portion of this 22%, but it's not even close to half the phones sold....
  • In agreement

    Jobs may have envisioned a utopia of forever data when he set the first iPad loose on the world. Sadly he is no longer around, and AT&T have also screwed first-gen iPad 3G owners with their unlimited plans. Consumer demand and loyalty becomes irrelevant in a culture of corporate greed.

    In all fairness, I sympathize with LTE users. The technology is available now to provide mobile broadband comparable to wired home broadband speeds, yet U.S. carriers insist on gouging consumers at rates 4x-5x that of those folks in Europe and Asia enjoy. Who WOULDN'T like to get 100mbps speeds priced at $2/GB without data caps?

    It sucks spending $200 on the latest smartphone only to get a weeks worth of fun out of your data allowance. Spending $800-plus on a LTE tablet and getting the exact same experience would hurt even more. Yet I don't think even Apple will have the muscle to spur carriers to invest in infrastructure, despite the fact that the U.S. is falling behind in a service sector it has always dominated.
  • While 4G and data Caps have been discussed before...

    The second you mention Apple, the screaming minions of Microsoft crawl out of their caves to take pot shots at Apple. Never mind that the Nokia Lumia phones drain the battery so fast you would need to plug them into a wall outlet to hit the data limits. Nice way to find the most negative spin possible, because it's an Apple product.
    Jumpin Jack Flash
    • funny

      And the same can be said about the cool-aid drinkers that Apple gathers... Its all relative m8.
  • And so, it comes to this

    One of the biggest reasons cloud services aren't a practical storage solution is data caps / pricing. With this limitation, the lofty clouds will remain the province of the wealthy. They are also among the few who will be able to employ high-level security for their castles in the clouds. The rest of us will remain cloud-serf-ing as we try to maintain access to and security of our tiny plots in the cloud which we are more-and-more being herded into through tight chutes of bandwidth and economy.
    • It depends what you are using it for.

      Our corporate data is stored on the cloud, and it would be quite a trick to brush up against caps downloading the likes of spreadsheets and Word docs. The people having problems aren't generally having problems because they are accessing cloud-based storage, they are having problems because they are streaming media.

      Personally, I do have the Google-imposed limit of 25,000 MP3s backed up to their music cloud, but I rarely bother streaming them to my phone. I have no bandwidth issues whatsoever streaming it back to my PC (oh, right, those are supposed to be obsolete now...stupid me...)
    • no cloud for me!

      You're absolutely right Hellking. That is the main reason i refuse to buy a smartphone that doesn't have an sd slot!...especially since it has been recently proven that devices said to have sd memory expandable up to 32gb, are also compatible with 64gb cards and thus probably the upcoming 128gb cards also!
  • Time to see what Tahr jhez comes up with

    Maybe one of those nifty gift cards they sometimes offer to iPad purchasers. Of course the offer, if it comes, will be for the current iPad 2 model.

    Does anybody besides me think that the 1 actually was Beta? In hindsight seeing the small window of time the late Steve Jobs had available it may have been a fishing trip that succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. OK, so then the "2" model would actually be first generation, and the new one the first generation with benefits. Just asking.
    • The iPad 1 was not a beta product

      So the just released iPad would be the 3rd model not the second. Do you have anything to back up your idea that the original iPad was some sort of beta? because I'm not seeing any evidence other than your opinion.
  • Carriers/ISP need to upgrade their networks!

    How could one make large amounts of data online (read: the cloud) with limited data (and antiquated) plans? Remember that the new iPad is not first device with 4g LTE but many Android devices have been using this high speed network so I Carriers/ISP need to upgrade their networks now so that people can really benefit the speed and the cloud which so many people have touted but the carriers/ISP have yet to deliver.
    • That would the obvious thing to do

      But think of the fun they'd miss out on. More/happier data sated customers, more revenue, a more useful network. Sadly though they would also miss out on annoying people, doing hard work like building a network, things like that.

      Mind you, as I detest mobile anything, more power to them in screwing things up and their customers over.
  • Insufficient grid, what else is new in America!

    We have fast and faster machines and no backbone to support it. Nice. Yes, let free enterprise take care of us because the government can't. Another government bail out coming?
  • Was never like this on Star Trek

    It was never like this on Star Trek, with the original "Pad's" :-)