Using Your New iPad on a 4G or LTE Network Will Eat Through Your Data and Your Wallet
published an awesome analysis of exactly how fast the new iPad could potentially blow through your data plan when operating on 4G LTE networks.
Current iPad data plans for AT&T and Verizon look like this:
*Photo courtesy of CNET*
Not cheap, and definitely not unlimited. Thankfully Verizon and AT&T provide data calculators to help customers decide what data plan best suits their needs. While these estimates are ballpark figures and feature a great deal of missing settings (AT&T doesnít have 4G or LTE settings, and Verizon only offers ďmobile broadband for computersĒ estimates) the figures are as close to real-world as prospective buyers can get without buying and trying.
However, both calculators donít attempt to hide the fact 4G and LTE connections eat through data-caps like Kobayashi. A single hour of HD video streaming on a 4G connection will eat through nearly 2GB of data according to Verizon, which means 2.5 hours eats up 5GB of 4G data. Watching Arrested Development episodes via Netflix on a road-trip? Negative.
AT&Tís calculators inflates their results, but this is likely due to the fact the calculator lumps in 3G speeds with 4G numbers. AT&Tís calculator allows users to customize a number of sliders indicating how often they do certain things via their mobile device. However, the tools wonít be very indicative of actual iPad use.
Judging by CNETís findings using Verizon's and AT&Tís data calculators, there is almost no reason to utilize 4G speeds on a device capable of displaying 1080p and high-def video. Where the smaller screen sizes of mobile phones limit the bandwidth needed to display HD video, the new iPadís increased resolution allows users to devour data. If a user spends $50 a month for 5GB iPad data plan, theyíve essentially paid $50 to watch a single streaming HD movie on their device when in a 4G area.
Of course, customers could only use their 4G LTE iPad on Wi-Fi home networks and hot-spots. But, then again that defeats the purpose of having true 4G mobile Internet. Even worse, the ability to use the iPad as a 4G hot-spot becomes even less economical.
Unlimited data plans need to come back, and fast.