Verizon’s iPad 2 plans best for data hogs, AT&T best suited for 1 to 2GB of data
Apple’s iPad 2 will be released in just five day, and for the first time Apple will allow users to choose between AT&T or Verizon for the iPad’s 3G data services. Each carrier offers different data plan packages, and overage fees, so picking the right plan will depend on how much data you use each month, and how consistently you’ll be able to predict your data usage. A table of data plans and overages is listed below. Each data plan package is highlighted in green, while prices with overages are listed between the data plan packages.
The graph above shows the cost of iPad 2 data for AT&T (blue) and Verizon (red) by GB (X-Axis). The cost of data is listed in the Y-Axis, and assumes overage fees if you use more data than is provided in a given data plan package. The optimal plans for a given range of data are indicated by the horizontal lines below the cost/GB line, with the plan provider and plan type listed to the right. You can click on this graph to enlarge it.
AT&T offers the least expensive data plan at $15 for 250MB per month. However, this data plan is the most expensive in terms of cost per MB. Additionally, if you go over the 250MB cap, AT&T will charge you an additional $15 per each additional 250MB of data that you use – that means if you accidentally use 1GB of data in a month you’ll pay a whopping $60. So, if you select the 250MB plan, you should be absolutely certain that you won’t cross the 250MB threshold very often, and won’t use much more than 250MB of data.
Verizon’s $20 1GB plan is best suited for users that plan to use between 250MB and 1GB of data. However, if you go over 1GB of data Verizon will charge you a steep $20 for each additional 1GB of data, so select Verizon’s 1GB plan only if you do not expect to use more than a gig of data per month.
AT&T’s $25 2GB plan is the most cost effective when using between 1GB and 2GB of data. AT&T will charge you an additional $10 per 1GB of data if you go over 2GB.
If you plan to use over 2GB of data, you should definitely pick up a Verizon iPad 2. Verizon’s data plans are either less expensive or the same cost as AT&T’s plans at different data usage rates over 2GB. Verizon’s 3GB data plan is ideal for users who plan to use between 2GB and 4GB of data per month, while Verizon’s 5GB plan is most cost effective for between 4GB and 7GB per month. Finally, if you plan to use over 7GB of data per month, stick with Verizon’s 10GB plan.
It’s important to note that the graph above does not take into account how often you cross a data threshold. For example, AT&T’s 2GB plan may be right for you if you only cross the 2GB threshold once a year or so. However, it can be difficult to gauge your data usage, especially with certain apps, such as Netflix, gobbling around 1.5GB of data per movie. We’d suggest that you pick a plan that provides more data that you think you’ll use, just to be on the safe side.