The two major carriers for 4G iPad service in the USA are Verizon and AT&T. They both boast extensive networks and have managed to penetrate even into rural areas. They also have pricing that is really quit competitive with one another. Unfortunately, both companies have done away with unlimited 4G access so, if you’re signing up with a new account, you’ll have to accept that there will be data caps in place on your usage.

Pricing

AT&T has pricing that is structured as follows.

  • 250MB/month @ $14.99
  • 3 GB/month @ $30
  • 5 GB/month @ $50

Beyond these limits, you’ll be looking at overage fees, which can get quite high. AT&T does not allow you to use your device as a mobile hotspot, which will be too limiting for some users, particularly those who need maximum connectivity for their devices, no matter where they are.

Verizon has a slightly different pricing structure:

  • 2GB/month @ $30
  • 5GB/month @ $50
  • 10GB/month @ $80

While Verizon lacks the convenient 3GB per month that AT&T offers, it does offer the very generous 10GB per month plan for only $30 more than the 5GB plan. For users who are on their iPads almost constantly, this is the obvious choice. It’s also a great option for those who want to make sure that they can use their iPads for business without having to worry about getting overage charges.

Availability

Where network availability is concerned, Verizon tops AT&T by far. Even very rural areas in the US tend to have 4G coverage by the wireless giant. This makes them a great choice for those who need to do a lot of travelling for business or who live in areas that aren’t urban enough to have guaranteed coverage from AT&T.

If you do happen to live in an urban area, however, the choice is not quite so clear. AT&T has a good network in urbanized parts of the nation and they may be just as good a choice for city dwellers. The 3GB plan is a nice middle ground and offers 1GB more transfer per month than what Verizon offers at the same price point.

The bottom line is that those who need coverage that extends as far and wide as possible will likely want Verizon, as will those who need a very large data plan. Those who do not need the very broad coverage or biggest data plans will likely do fine with either carrier.

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