While it is no secret that LTE devices are capable of burning through data quicker than their 3G counterparts burn, several reports claim many new iPad users are concerned about how quickly they are reaching their data cap. In some cases, users reported reaching their 2GB monthly cap within hours of just streaming video. According to a new report from The Wall Street Journalthatprofiled several disgruntled AT&T and Verizon customers, Apple’s “promise of superfast wireless connections collides with the reality of what those services cost.”
Doing some math that any consumer could: LTE speeds often hit 2 Megabytes/second. You would hit 2GB in 1000 seconds—or under 17 minutes.
One man profiled in the story, Brandon Wells, went through 2GB of his Verizon plan streaming March Madness college basketball games to his new iPad. WSJreports:
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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.
Another user profiled by WSJ shot through his 3GB AT&T data plan within five days of getting the device after he “watched concert videos and other clips and browsed social-media sites” for about an hour. It is obvious Apple is pushing the ability to stream high-quality video as one of the biggest benefits of new iPad’s LTE capabilities, but many consumers are clearly unaware that LTE sucks up more data.
WSJ explained Verizon estimates LTE takes up approximately double the amount of data compared to 3G for the same content:
What many consumers may not realize is the new iPad’s faster LTE connection means they will use more data even if they don’t change their 3G surfing habits. Take regular video: Verizon estimates that streaming it over an LTE connection runs through 650 megabytes an hour. That’s double the amount of data used streaming the same video over a 3G link, because the fatter pipe lets more data through. On top of that, the new iPad’s sharper screen will encourage some users to view videos in high-definition, which uses 2 gigabytes an hour on a 4G connection, according to Verizon.
Interestingly, the report noted AT&T is looking into allowing developers the option to pay for data that their apps consume when in use. This would allow those apps to not count toward a user’s monthly cap, as WSJ puts it,”kind of like an 800-number for apps.” We have a feeling this will not be the last we hear of this, and the report noted carriers are likely to experiment with new pricing strategies as they bet on LTE services to boost wireless bills in the face of declining voice-calling revenues.
There is also more than a few complaints in the Apple support forums claiming poor Wi-Fi reception on the new iPad. The issue doesn’t seem to be widespread, but we’ll report back if anything develops.
My shiny new iPad only works if I sit within six feet of my router. Tried two routers and it’s the same. I sold my iPad 1. How I wish I could have it back. This one is no more use than a desktop with an Ethernet connection.
- Yes, the new Verizon iPad works on AT&T 3G networks (9to5mac.com)
- LTE iPad pricing now live from Verizon and AT&T (9to5mac.com)