iPad 2 on Verizon: Slower, But Cheaper
Verizon released data plan pricing for its version of the iPad 2, and AT&T announced a new plan
giving users the option of being billed for their service rather than having to pre-pay. The two plans are roughly equivalent, though Verizon offers a discount for the heaviest data users. A recent study showing AT&T still with a dominant lead on download speeds, however, may give data hogs pause: Verizon users might get the bandwidth for less money, but it'll be slower.
AT&T is still offering the two plans they rolled out with the original iPad: the Data Plus with 250MB for $14.99/mo or Data Pro with 2GB for $25. Concurrent with the iPad 2 launch, AT&T is adding a post-paid option where users pay the same amount for the two data plans, but Data Pro users get billed at $10 per gigabyte for overages. Previously, the only option was just to pay for another month of service at the same price; Data Plus users pretty much still have to do that, but they'll just get a bill rather than having to pay as they go. For the Verizon iPad 2, it's a little more straightforward. Data plans go from $20 per month for 1 GB on a sliding scale up to $80 per month for 10 GB, with overages at $10 for every gigabyte. (A good comparison chart is here
.) So if you're a bandwidth beast who uses 14 GB a month, you're going to pay $175 to AT&T, but just $120 to Verizon.
Sounds like a good deal... but as usual in this world, you don't get something for nothing. The latest comparison of AT&T and Verizon for bandwidth shows that iPhone 4s on AT&T were able to download twice as fast
in five major cities as their Verizon counterparts. This backs up an earlier study by Speedtest.net
that showed AT&T's HSDPA network performing, as expected, twice as well as the Verizon EV-DO Rev. A system. Of course, Verizon does have better coverage: if you can't get AT&T where you are, it doesn't matter how
fast it is. So if you're weighing an AT&T versus a Verizon iPad, where you are and how much data you expect to use should be the key determinations.