International Roaming with a 4G iPad
The Apple 4G iPad 3 devices are among the hottest sellers on the tech market. They are designed for North American users, however, and you’re going to have problems with 4G service if you go outside North America. In fact, you cannot get 4G service on these devices outside of North America.
In the UK, there are no 4G networks. The frequencies that Apple uses for 4G networks are used for television in the UK. Apple iPad 3′s can get 4G connections on the 700Mz spectrum and the 2.1GHz spectrum. These are simply not in use for 4G connections in the UK. The earliest possible date for 4G in the UK service is the end of 2012 and even that is not certain. The solution is to get a local 3G LTE card and hook up to their wireless network with a 3G connection.
In Europe, there are 4G networks and they are very good. Unfortunately, they’re also on different frequencies than the iPad uses. The iPad cannot support 4G connections on these frequencies so, just as is the case in the UK, you have to use a 3G LTE SIM to connect. You can buy these at any wireless store in Europe. This is a well-known problem and simply telling the vendor what’s going on will likely get you the right part.
Canada does have 4G connections on the right frequencies for iPad 3 devices. You can get service through Rogers or Bell Canada. Speeds and prices are comparable to what you’ll find in the US and there are plans that let you go across the border without having to buy service from a local provider. US users should have no trouble with Canadian networks.
The Big Picture
If you’re taking your iPad abroad, the UK and Europe are where everything changes. Taking it to Canada will really not be any different in terms of the user experience than roaming around the US.
Around the US, Verizon has better 4G network coverage than AT&T, though AT&T’s network usage plans keep them competitive.
If you’re planning on going to Europe, plan on buying a SIM card and plan on needing a different one in continental Europe than you do in the UK. Provided you’re ready to deal with this inconvenience, you should have good service. Remember that Australia has the same issues with 4G networks, so you have to get a SIM there, as well.