Friday, March 09, 2012

Verizon to offer 'new iPad' mobile hotspot feature ... but not AT&T

Verizon may not be selling as many "new iPads" as AT&T is, but that might be changing. The Verizon new iPad (new Verizon iPad?) has something the AT&T one does not have: hotspot capability.

During its "new iPad" event on Wednesday, Apple said the tablet would have hotspot capability, but only if the carrier allowed it. A mobile hotspot feature on either a smartphone for tablet means that the device simulate a wireless router to other wi-fi enabled devices, sharing its cellular data capability with them, particularly handy when you have a 4G LTE device like the "new iPad."

AT&T has confirmed, via its customer care Twitter account, that the AT&T "new iPad" will not support tethering (or mobile hotspot). They do say that "if this changes," they will Tweet the news. AT&T will have the following data tiers for the "new iPad": 250MB @ $15, 3GB @ $30, and $5GB @ $50.

Meanwhile, Verizon is doing the same thing with the "new iPad" that it does with its other tablets: hotspot service is included in the data plan. The Verizon "new iPad" will have the following data tiers: 1GB/month @ $20, 2GB @ $30, 5GB @ $50, and 10GB @ $80 (these are the same as pricing for other tablets on Verizon except that the iPad gets a special 1GB tier).

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Given that, we would recommend the Verizon "new iPad" to our friends and family. a) Verizon has a much larger LTE footprint than AT&T, and b) it includes hotspot capability.  Of course, if you're nowhere near Verizon LTE, that a) advantage goes away, but you can still get the hotspot service, and unless you're really rural, eventually LTE, too.

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