AT&T Changes Billing for iPad 2

Cyberspace is all abuzz with iPad 2 related news one day after Apple’s announcement of their next generation device.  If you plan to make the big purchase on March 11th, you might be wondering about data plan options and availability. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, AT&T is planning to offer new billing option for iPad 2 owners.

With the iPad 2’s support of both GSM and CDMA, AT&T and Verizon Wireless will now compete for iPad 2 subscribers.   Both companies will have to get creative as the only differentiator will be network coverage and their data plan pricing.  When the iPad was first released, AT&T had an advantage as they were the exclusive network provider.  Several months later, Apple added Verizon as a distribution channel but users were forced to use an additional MiFi device in order to use their iPad when outside of WiFi coverage.  Unlike Verizon Wireless, AT&T has been able to offer the iPad with direct access to its wireless network without the need for additional equipment.

One advantage for Verizon is the growing frustration many current iPhone and iPad owners have with their AT&T network coverage.  Verizon Wireless is considered by many experts to have superior network coverage, despite the millions of dollars AT&T has spent on recent network upgrades.  Now with both companies offering “essentially identical products,” who will win out?

AT&T plans to keep its current pricing structure and charge $14.99 for 250 megabytes of montly data and $25 for 2 gigabytes. In addition, it’s also introducing a “postpaid” option in which customers may elect to receive regular AT&T bills for data access without being locked into a contract.  While the change might be a small one for many, it does give customers extra flexibility when choosing how to pay for their iPad’s wireless service.

Verizon Wireless plans to add the iPad 2 to its existing Android tablet lineup and offer customers a range of data plan options. While the carrier plans to offer more pricing options than AT&T, the entry-level plan comes with a higher starting price but includes more data.  Verizon’s data plans won’t require a contract for the iPad 2 and include an entry-level $20 plan for 1 gigabyte of data, $35 for 3 gigabytes, $50 for 5 gigabytes and $80 for 10 gigabytes.

AT&T and Verizon Wireless are currently competing on equal footing in the smartphone arena with Apple’s iPhone 4 and things appear to be going well for both carriers.  With AT&T’s exclusivity contract with Apple over,Verizon Wireless reports they’ve sold more iPhone 4 devices in its initial launch than any other product in the company’s history.

What does the future hold for AT&T, Verizon Wireless and their iPad 2 sales?  Only time will tell…..

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  • Robert

    That’s an insane amount of money for download data! What a rip off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Harold

    What I’m wondering is for those who already are subscribed to the AT&T data plan for the original iPad how it will carry over to the new iPad. Will the Apple techs be able to transfer service when you buy the new iPad?

    • qo

      @Harold

      I’ve got the same original unlimited data plan and found the following on Apple’s Forums. Not sure how reliable it is, so take it with whatever dose of silicon floats your boat…

      FROM APPADVICE (www.appadvice.com), A “HOW-TO” regarding this very subject:

      “Many iPad 3G owners may want to transfer their current data plan to the new iPad 2. You could simply wait until the end of the month to cancel your current plan (unless you want to keep your unlimited data plan). Or, you could get everything transferred over on day one. AT&T provided us with a step by step guide on how to do this:

      Step 1. Find your original iPad’s cellular data number and IMEI number. These can be found in the settings app. Simply go to “General” then “About.” Here you will find both numbers. Your IMEI number is what AT&T uses to identify your SIM card.

      Step 2. Call 1-800-331-0500

      Step 3. Let AT&T know you would like to transfer your data plan from your original iPad to your new iPad.

      Step 4. AT&T will ask for the iPad 2’s IMEI number and will transfer your plan over to your new iPad.

      It is a pretty straight forward and simple procedure. We did ask about simply moving the SIM card from the original iPad to iPad 2. The representative said not to do this. It is unclear if AT&T monitors what device your SIM card is in. It is possible that AT&T could cancel your data plan if you move your SIM card from an original iPad to iPad 2.

      The representative also let us know that once the transfer is complete you can sign up for a new plan on your original iPad if desired.”

  • qo