Verizon vs. AT&T: Which offers better iPad 2 plans?

  • Brad Reed (Network World)
  • 11 March, 2011 07:42

Verizon and AT&T kicked off their campaign for the hearts, minds and dollars of iPad 2 users Thursday by releasing their 3G wireless data plan options. While neither carrier offers unlimited plans, Verizon offers a wider variety of plans that give users more monthly data to consume than most of AT&T's plans.

In all, Verizon offers four data plans for the iPad 2: A 1GB plan that costs $20 per month, a 3GB plan that costs $35 per month, a 5GB plan that costs $50 per month and a 10GB plan that costs $80 per month. AT&T, meanwhile, is only offering two plans: a 250MB plan that costs $14.99 per month and a 2GB plan that costs $25 per month.

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If you break each plan down by the amount of money it charges per GB, the Verizon plans charge a high of $20 per gigabit for the 1GB plan and a low of $8 per GB for the 10GB plan. AT&T, meanwhile, charges a high of $59.96 per GB for the 250MB plan and a low of $12.50 for the 2GB plan. Also note that Verizon's 3GB plan ($11.67 per gigabit) and 5GB plan ($10 per gigabit) each charge less per GB than AT&T's cheapest per-GB offering.

AT&T and Verizon have very comparable overage charges for users who exceed their monthly data caps. AT&T says it will charge customers who exceed their 250MB cap an additional $14.99, which will give them an additional 250MB. Users who exceed the 2GB cap, meanwhile, will get charged an extra $10 and will be allotted an extra 1GB of data. Verizon, meanwhile, will charge uses on its 1GB plan an extra $20 for each additional GB of data they consume, while charging only $!0 per GB for overages on the other three data plans.

When it comes to overall network quality, AT&T's HSPA+ 3G network has consistently proven to offer faster data speeds, although its overall 3G coverage is not nearly as extensive as Verizon's 3G EV-DO Rev. A network. Verizon last year became the first major carrier in the U.S. to offer 4G LTE data services, although this won't impact data speeds on the iPad 2 since the tablet is not yet capable of supporting LTE.

The iPad 2 is slated to be released March 11, less than two weeks after Apple announced its existence at a media event in San Francisco. The tablet will feature a dual-core 1GHZ processor, a 9.7-inch diagonal screen with a resolution of 1024x768 pixels and battery power that will support 10 hours of Web surfing over Wi-Fi networks and nine hours of Web surfing over 3G networks. The iPad 2 will also be a thinner and lighter version of the original iPad, as it measures in at 0.34 inches thick and 1.35 pounds.

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