News Flash – You Can Use Up Your Data Plan Faster on Your iPad With 4G Speeds!

We already know that Dan is a heavy data user – AT&T has him nationally ranked, after all! Today Dan mentioned that in the first week with the new iPad he has already exceeded 2GB of usage. My usage has been much lower, but I am surrounded by WiFi much of the time – but the 4G service has been indispensable, as has the WiFi hotspot!

But Dan isn’t alone – there have been several articles about people suddenly finding themselves going over their 2GB data limit and having to pay an extra $10 per GB of data. In the Wall Street Journal yesterday:

Brandon Wells got the new iPad last Friday, started wirelessly streaming March Madness games the next day and by Saturday night was out of gas.

Two hours of college basketball—which he viewed mounted to his car dashboard and live at tournament games—had burned through his monthly wireless data allotment of two gigabytes.

Excited users of the new iPad are finding there’s a drawback to the blazing fast 4G connection offered by their new device: They burn through their data limits in as little as a day, Anton Troianovski reports on the News Hub. Photo: AP.

Now, to keep surfing the Web or watch more NCAA hoops over Verizon Wireless’s 4G network, Mr. Wells will have to pay an extra $10 for every gigabyte above his current $30 subscription.

This is nothing new – the combination of higher speeds, more rich content available … and increasingly throttled data plans is a perfect storm to land customers in the same place as our Dan and Brandon Wells from the article.

But it isn’t just streaming video that will do it to you, as Ed Baig from USA Today noted yesterday:

In my case, I wasn’t watching video. What nailed me, I think, is that I was wirelessly downloading a number of the apps that I had already purchased for my older iPad onto the latest model. Those apps were made available through Apple’s iCloud.

To help avoid just this situation, the new iPad has a 50MB per app download limit on 4G. Anything over that, and you’re directed to Wi-Fi. (The over-the-air download limit on 3G-capable iPads was 20MB.) But that’s a per-app limit, and all those smaller-sized apps I was moving to the new iPad collectively added up.

That is an interesting thought – I never would have dreamed of doing my app installs over 4G! Because at 50MB maximum, it only takes 40 apps to burn through your data … and most of my home screens have more apps than that!

But beyond what I mentioned before – higher speeds, more rich content available, and carrier limits – there is another factor: the iPad itself. More and more we are using the iPad as our ‘everything’ companion. Music, movies, video clips, photo sharing, email, web, and so on. Having a wonderful NCAA streaming app for college hoops is a great way to burn data … and for most people 4G offers speeds faster than at home.

So be careful if you have a new iPad, great 4G signal and a limited data plan … because an ‘out of data’ message might be in your future!

Categories: Gear Bits

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1 reply

  1. Do wireless companies charge $50/month for a measly 5GB of data because it really costs that much to deliver it, or do they charge that much because they can get away with it? I’m guessing the markup on what wireless really costs vs. what customers pay must be about the same as diamonds and fountain drinks, but of course, I have no data to confirm that suspicion.

    I just find it fascinating that local TV stations can distribute three or four channels of HD quality video 24/7, and we can enjoy that for no monthly fee (watching ads, of course)…but wireless companies want me to believe it’s THAT expensive to access so little.