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The Complete iPad 3 Review: Retina Display, A5X, 4G LTE, And Camera

4G LTE Performance: Verizon Versus AT&T

One of the new iPad's biggest selling points is 4G LTE mobile broadband networking. The great news is that iPad 3 supports the Verizon and AT&T mobile networks. Both companies operate in the same band. Verizon mostly uses 746-787 MHz, while AT&T primarily uses 704-746 MHz. Apple can accommodate customers from the two providers with a single baseband modem (Qualcomm's Gobi MDM9600) by simply swapping SIM cards.

Based on our own tinkering, Apple doesn't appear to have locked its iPads, at least the tablets shipping with Verizon's service preinstalled. As shown in the video above, we can remove the AT&T microSIM from one iPad 3 and use it in another purchased with a Verizon microSIM. This is great news for anyone who owns an iPad 2 and wants to switch carriers. 

For example, if you own an iPad 2 with an AT&T microSIM, you can buy a Verizon iPad 3, use the microSIM from your iPad 2 in your iPad 3, and still get 4G LTE mobile broadband networking. To be clear, LTE isn't available everywhere, and you'll have to fall back to 3G+ or 4G in some areas. Further, choosing a different carrier on your iPad 3 doesn't allow backwards compatibility. You can't use a Verizon SIM card on your AT&T iPad 2 because they use an entirely different cellular band and standard. Oddly, we couldn't get the SIM card from our Verizon iPad 3 to work in our AT&T iPad 3.

Data PlanAT&T (map)Verizon (map)
250 MB per month$14.99-
1 GB per month-$20.00
2 GB per month-$30.00
3 GB per month$30.00
5 GB per month$50.00
10 GB per month-$80.00

Mobile broadband subscription plans have not changed much within the United States. However, Verizon-flavored iPad 3s have a distinct advantage over their AT&T competition in that they're able to operate as wireless hotspots—a superior option to MiFi mobile Wi-Fi hotspots for travelers. Battery life is simply unbelievable; we were able to squeeze about 23.5 hours out of the iPad 3 while it was operating as a hotspot.

  • tomfreak
    lol FAIL hard when I see keyboard are displayed on TV as well despite being docked and to make thigns worst one still need to carry the adapter around to plug HDMI......
    Reply
  • confish21
    Really a solid tablet. Just wish the adapter and outrageous bills could disappear... Great Review!

    100 degrees is damn hot but I think the results are justified.
    Reply
  • confish21
    its cool if I lick my finger for page turning right?
    Reply
  • hardcore_gamer
    I'm waiting for an x86- Windows 8 tablet.
    Reply
  • aicom
    Tomfreaklol FAIL hard when I see keyboard are displayed on TV as well despite being docked and to make thigns worst one still need to carry the adapter around to plug HDMI......+1 to the keyboard thing. But remember that most tablets (all?) don't have full size HDMI so you probably need a dongle 99% of the time anyway.
    Reply
  • tomfreak
    HDMI port is not very thick, I still wonder whats keeping them from putting in on tablet.
    Reply
  • Maziar
    Great article! very detailed.
    Reply
  • aicom
    TomfreakHDMI port is not very thick, I still wonder whats keeping them from putting in on tablet.The port isn't all that's needed. There's also a bit of hardware around it for the socket that makes it a tad thicker and a stretch to fit in the chasis of tablets.
    Reply
  • alchemy69
    "Typically, you're looking at a tablet from less than a foot away"

    Really?
    Reply
  • tomfreak
    aicomThe port isn't all that's needed. There's also a bit of hardware around it for the socket that makes it a tad thicker and a stretch to fit in the chasis of tablets.looks like we gonna wait wide adoption for mini display port for TV then.
    Reply