The New iPad Is Already Crushing Owners' Data Plans

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Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider

Isn’t LTE wonderful?That speedy new wireless standard feels like a godsend compared to 3G. Verizon and AT&T say their LTE networks are about 10 times as fast as 3G.

In reality, it’s often much, much faster than that.

We’ve used both networks in the New York City area and have seen speeds that make our cable modem look like an old dial-up. Seriously.

So it’s no surprise that people who picked up a new LTE iPad last week are really happy with those data speeds. So happy, in fact, that they’ve already gone overboard and used up their data plans.

The WSJ has a nifty man-on-the-street story with a few new iPad owners who have already used up the two or three gigabytes allotted to them by their respective carriers. 

Why? For most people, the culprit is streaming video.

Yes, streaming video can be faster and smoother using LTE instead of 3G or even Wi-Fi, but it’s also very taxing on your data plan. If you stream a lot of video, especially HD video, you can hit your limit within just a few hours.

(By the way, you can see the LTE data plans Verizon and AT&T offer for the iPad right here.)

Both carriers charge you $10 for an extra gigabyte of data if you go over your limit within a billing cycle. Both carriers also offer up to 5 GB of data for $50 per month, but it’s still possible for heavy users to burn through that rather quickly.

So what can you do if you’re worried about going over your iPad’s LTE data plan? Here are a few quick tips:

  • Use Wi-Fi whenever you can, even if its slower.
  • Keep an eye on how much data you’re using in a billing cycle. There are some great apps that help you do this including Data Usage, My Data Usage Pro, and Data Counter.  
  • If you don’t have access to Wi-Fi, stream videos in standard definition instead. It won’t look as good, but it’ll save you on data usage.
  • If you’re a very heavy data user, consider one of the $50 monthly plans that give you 5 GB of data.

NOW READ: Our review of the new iPad 

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