This guest post is contributed by Zoe Howard, on behalf of Phoneshop.co,uk
It’s here: the third generation of the iconic Apple iPad has arrived. The iPad 3 was released on March 16, 2012 with several notable improvements. Among the iPad 3’s most-prized new features is the ultrafast 4G LTE technology. 4G LTE can deliver Internet speeds that are 10 times as fast as the already-impressive 3G technology. While iPad 3 owners salivate over the prospects, service providers are at a crossroads. Currently, only two companies, AT&T and Verizon, are selling 4G LTE service to iPad 3 owners – and they each use different versions of 4G LTE.
The Problem with 4G LTE
As amazing as 4G LTE is, there’s a problem. It’s brand new, and that means that it is not widely available. Coverage is limited, though Verizon currently has much wider coverage than AT&T. Keep in mind that the terms 4G and 4G LTE are not the same with 4G being faster than 3G and 4G LTE being its own, super-fast and far superior technology. AT&T’s coverage map shows coverage for just a handful of cities while Verizon’s coverage is available in over 200 cities.
The Problem for iPad 3 Users
The lack of coverage can be problematic for early adopters of 4G LTE. AT&T and Verizon each use different systems to deliver the 4G LTE service, and require specific circuitry in order to do so. As such, users must select a service provider before they buy their new iPad 3s. According to Apple, its iPad 3 tablets are configured to work with either Verizon or AT&T, not both. Even if a user doesn’t intend to use 4G LTE immediately, they’ll need to make a choice before buying.
The Problem for AT&T and Verizon
In order to compete in today’s marketplace, price is an issue for AT&T, Verizon, and any other service provider considering entering this market. Not only must these providers invest in new networks, they must also compete on price. Verizon’s website currently features a tagline that says it all, “Twice the data. Same low price.”
For the most part, data plan pricing for the new iPad from AT&T and Verizon haven’t changed much, if at all. One exception is AT&T’s $30 plan. Previously, for $30, AT&T subscribers received 2GB of data each month on its 3G network. Now, AT& T’s 4G LTE $30 subscribers get 3GB on the faster 4G LTE network.
More Data, Same Price, and a Bonus Feature
To further entice iPad 3 owners to its wireless network, Verizon has reportedly added a bonus feature to the mix: its mobile hotspot feature (which normally costs an additional $20 per month) is said to be included in its iPad 3 4G LTE data plans.
Though there are challenges in store for AT&T, Verizon, and users alike, the iPad 3 promises to be one of the most popular gadgets this year. As more people buy and as the network grow, many of these problems will be overcome.