If you are looking to purchase an iPad, choosing among the nation’s only two providers is certainly difficult enough.  For most users, it comes down to personal preference and which company has provided the best experience in the past, which company holds the user’s cell phone plan, or which one simply has the more favorable reputation.  But for users who travel internationally, there is one other thing to consider, and it is absolutely a major consideration.  International data plans.

One MAJOR Note

If you plan to conduct much international travel, considering the international data plans offered by both carriers is critical.  While price and data limits are certainly worth considering, you will primarily want to consider your most likely destinations.  Why?  The Verizon and AT&T iPads run on completely different technologies.  While AT&T iPads run on GSM systems, the Verizon models run on CDMA.  How does this impact you?  Well, it determines where you are going to be able to use your device.  For example, while Canada is a CDMA country, you will find that the vast majority of Europe runs using GSM networks, meaning that AT&T is going to be the only way to use your iPad to connect to the web.

Price Comparisons

For AT&T, international data breaks down as follows.

  • 20 MB for 24.99
  • 50MB for 59.99
  • 100Mb for 119.99
  • 200MB for 199.99

It is worth noting that these limits are for a 30 day period.  There is no doubt that international data rates with AT&T are pricy, but when compared to the significantly limited availability of CDMA networks in the international market, it still makes AT&T the better option.

With Verizon, international data breaks down as follows:

  • 25 MB for $30
  • 70 MB for $100.  Overages are billed at .02 per KB

As you can see, not only are coverage areas extremely limited, but package options are quite limited as well.  AT&T offers a clear advantage in both categories, so unless you are planning to spend most of your international time in Canada or other CDMA countries or already have Verizon as a wireless carrier, AT&T will likely prove the best option for you.

Summary

For most users, international data coverage is merely an afterthought or a minor consideration when looking for a data plan.  AT&T is the clear winner in this, but there are many advantages to Verizon for people who will use their devices mostly here in the US.  The choice is certainly a matter of personal preference, but if you do a great deal of international travel, these are certainly considerations you will want to take.

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