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

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

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

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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.

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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 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.

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Talkback

234 comments
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  • Simple solution

    Stream movies only with wi-fi at home. Problem solved.
    mstrsfty
    • The rather defeats the point of having . . .

      . . . . a MOBILE device, to take and use "anywhere".
      Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • Hmm...

        I think the data caps are too low, and the associated costs are too high. I mean, what is LTE actually for; if not downloading large amounts of data?

        Seems the networks need to get a grip on reality, they want people to want 4G, then it needs to be useable and reasonably priced. The tech is ready, now we need realistic pricing.
        jeremychappell
      • Well then...

        Just pay the high prices for the data and move on!
        Geuseppi
      • wrong, Jeremy

        Your law of "supply and demand" means prices will go up. Demand exceeds supply.
        HypnoToad72
      • No, it's the carriers

        It's the carriers, not the devices that defeats the point since they are the ones caping the service.
        non-biased
      • Fine.

        But you have to pay. I can drive my car "anywhere", but I have to buy gas, pay tolls.
        dhmccoy
      • So?

        So take it and use it anywhere. But get real, this is common sense stuff.

        A little preparation goes a long way - download your movies and games and music and whatever else at home, on wifi, where you aren't using an ounce of data. Do your facebooking, Email, and other things mobile, which hardly use any data. You'll never hit a limit.

        I mean, if you WANT to see if you can burn through a data cap, just leave wifi OFF all the time. Your perogative.
        They DO say "common sense isn't too common" after all.
        geolemon
      • I agree with jeremy

        " I mean, what is LTE actually for; if not downloading large amounts of data? "

        Exactly.

        To those below comparing it to gas in cars, here is the analogy:
        The 2011 Apple Roadster was marketed as having a top speed of 100mph. It got 30mpg and used regular gasoline.

        The 2012 Apple Roadster was marketed as having a top speed of 1000mph. Apple makes no mention of mpg or gasoline requirements. They only advertise over and over again that this beast has a top speed of 1000mph so all of you with 2011 Apple Roadsters should rush out and buy this new one.

        Imagine your shock when you buy this thing and it turns out that it needs jet fuel that costs $1,000 per tank and that a tank lasts 1 minute.

        Apple bears some responsibility here for advertising a feature that is pretty much unusable.
        toddbottom3
      • This is NOT a "real" supply constraint

        Not, Verizon's networks did not come crashing down like AT&T's did when the first iPhones came out. The supply constraints based upon bandwidth and spectrum are a LIE. The price is high because monopolies are trying to maximize profits on the basis of leasing a public good, spectrum, to the public.
        tkejlboom
      • HypnoToad72

        The question is why supply exceeds demand. If a gas station were hoarding gas to create a shortage, a mob would lynch him. In this case, the supply restriction isn't bandwidth or spectrum but competition.
        tkejlboom
      • Or

        One could store the movies on the internal hard drive.
        athynz
      • @toddybottom

        or whatever you are calling yourself now...[b]

        To those below comparing it to gas in cars, here is the analogy:
        The 2011 Apple Roadster was marketed as having a top speed of 100mph. It got 30mpg and used regular gasoline.[/b]

        Now Imma let ya finish but I don't recall how the iPad (getting away from your flawed analogy) was given a "top speed" by Apple. The speed was limited to 3G technology and what the carrier's infrastructure could support.[b]

        The 2012 Apple Roadster was marketed as having a top speed of 1000mph. Apple makes no mention of mpg or gasoline requirements. They only advertise over and over again that this beast has a top speed of 1000mph so all of you with 2011 Apple Roadsters should rush out and buy this new one.[/b]

        Sure they advertised that the new iPad had 4G capability because that is the way things are going. You iHaters amuse me as you whine, b1tch, and moan about how the iDevices are on 3G when everyone else is going 4G and now that they are 4G you whine, b1tch, and moan about that.[b]

        Imagine your shock when you buy this thing and it turns out that it needs jet fuel that costs $1,000 per tank and that a tank lasts 1 minute.[/b]

        Imagine that, the carriers charge MORE for 4G service... Sprint has charged $10/m MORE for 4G vs 3G service from the start of them providing 4G. But sure, blame Apple for it just like a good little iHater troll.[b]

        Apple bears some responsibility here for advertising a feature that is pretty much unusable.[/b]

        The feature is quite usable - as demonstrated by the overages. If the feature was unusable as you claim there would not be any overages as no one would be able to use 4G. The problem is the price gouging of the carriers... at least VZW is allowing shared data for tethering as opposed to paying twice for the same bucket of data.
        athynz
      • iHater?

        I own an iPhone and an iPad and generally have very nice things to say about them. How does that make me an iHater? You iLovers are strange.

        "or whatever you are calling yourself now"

        I've always been Toddybottom but something has gone wrong with my last 2 accounts. No big deal.

        "I don't recall how the iPad (getting away from your flawed analogy) was given a "top speed" by Apple"

        http://www.apple.com/ipad/features/
        " You???ll see downlink speeds up to 42 Mbps with DC-HSDPA and up to 21.1 Mbps with HSPA+."

        "You iHaters amuse me ... "

        Great. Now you just need to show where I complained about Apple not being on 4G. I've actually been very quiet on the whole 3G vs 4G thing because I've always found WiFi perfect for the iPad and 3G perfect for the iPhone. What prompted me to respond this time was jeremy claiming that Apple had finally made 4G useable while at the same time claiming that 4G wasn't useable. You take some arguments from one person, other arguments from another person, and try to make it sound like the same person made both arguments. It doesn't work that way. Sorry.

        " Sprint has charged $10/m MORE for 4G vs 3G service from the start of them providing 4G. But sure, blame Apple "

        I only said Apple bears some responsibility. They are selling a device and touting a feature that, according to jeremy (are you going to call him an iHater?) is unuseable.

        "The feature is quite usable"

        Tell that to jeremy. He doesn't believe the feature is useable. Now, you could call him an iHater because he disagrees with your "Apple is perfect and can do no wrong" iLover attitude. Something tells me that most here would not side with you if you called jeremy an iHater though.
        toddbottom3
      • Spectrum is a scarce resource

        The spectrum that they have is all they can get right now, and God isn't making any more of it. Ye canna change the laws of physics, Cap'n.

        Sure, you might get some more allocated in another band (though lots of other people are competing for it), but other bands don't perform too well for this stuff. Either shorter range, wont go through walls, or too low in capacity.
        A.Sinic
      • Hardly the fault of the device though...

        If you have a problem with the data plan restrictions, talk to the company you're planning to connect through - Do you really expect Apple to have control over them too?

        Current data costs are high... if you can't afford them - then you can't afford them - no point whining about it ;)

        $10/GB if you go over? Hey I'd love it if going over your data cap was that cheap here in Australia - but on my plan, if I go over my data limit I get charged $2/MB !! Try getting a $1200+ bill first month for using 600MB over your limit when you were expecting $39 - THAT's sticker shock! ;)
        iFX.64
      • Because you can take

        and use a mobile device anywhere doesn't mean that the carriers should lower their prices.

        It's like a guy who spends $300 dollars a week on bottled water complaining to the water company that they should lower the price because he's spending $300 a week on water.

        Then don't spend $300 a week on water!!

        If people stop spending that kind of money on 4G, then the companies will have to lower prices to entice users to get on board.
        William Farrel
      • LTE is brand new technology and early adopters always pay more ...

        ... for the privilege of being early adopters.

        Americans have not yet wrapped their heads around metered service - whcih just adds to the "sticker shock".

        Broadband is still largely unmetered and those who were early adopters with their cellular data plans have been grandfathered (at least for now) so, it will take a while for the worst of the problem to show up en masse. Perhaps by then, customers will have revolted (refusing to pay those kinds of overage fees) and the cellcos will have changed their pricing model.

        The point is that the cellcos will make sure they can cover their costs and, if that means they lose 4G customers, so be it! The marketplace will take care of this through supply and demand.

        It is not as if Wi-Fi is not readily available and very often free.
        M Wagner
    • So your solution

      is to stream a movie in HD at home over your home Wi Fi on a 10" device. When I could stream it to my 55" TV instead with a high end home theater system. Not a very good solution.
      LiquidLearner
      • Mobile is the message

        Don't stream the HD movie, download it (at least with iTunes, not Netflix) so you can take it with you.
        boomchuck1