So, you are planning on getting that new, shiny iPad and you also want some 4G goodness along with it, eh? Not sure what these guys are smoking but anything running on faster than 3G speeds will eat up 1 GB very quickly.
Just use Wi-Fi and save money - for those with unlimited plans - tether - Verizon will not care as much as AT&T will about that, but it will save money in the long run.
Half the coverage, half the customers, you're not going to run into as many problems when you're managing a smaller service. The time has finally come: after spending the biggest part of a decade with Verizon Wireless, I'm moving to a GSM carrier.
Still, I'm sick of being tied down to CDMA carrier, and the recent Nexus 4 announcement is the straw that broke the camel's back.
But, having been on VZW for quite a long time, I've had to do some research on which carrier best suits my needs - both pre- and post-paid.
Of course, this isn't an all-inclusive guide to GSM carriers, but rather a look at national providers that bring the most bang for the buck.
When starting to look for reasonable pre-paid carriers, Tracfone-owned company Straight Talk was one of the first to come to mind, thanks to its clever commercials (good job, Straight Talk marketing team - mission accomplished).
Of all the pre-paid carriers I've looked at, Straight Talk is one of the few that is an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) of both AT&T and T-Mobile, meaning that it has made agreements with both and can actively use each carrier's network (you choose the appropriate SIM during the checkout process). If you take a look at Net 10's SIM card site, you'll notice that it looks eerily similar to the Straight Talk SIM site, but with a different color scheme.
Like ST, though, Net 10 also throttles your "unlimited" data after a certain amount of bandwidth is used. Solavei's one and only plan is $50 a moth for unlimited talk, text, and data, which is throttled after 4GB.
Of course, you do have the potential of saving money each month by expanding your own personal network.
While the first four are fairly unique in both coverage and service offered for the price, there are a slew of others that offer very similar service to one another. Past those small differences, I couldn't really find any good reason to choose one over the other.
I wasn't going to include this one on the list, but after looking into a bit more more, I thought it might appeal to someone out there. For $30 a month, T-Mo will give you 100 minutes of talk time, along with unlimited text and data (throttled after 5GB). Where most pre-paid providers offer one or two different plans to choose from, you have a plethora of decisions to make with a post-paid carrier like AT&T. Honestly, I could probably do an entire post covering nothing but the difference between the Big Four's plans and how they compare to each other.
Much like with AT&T, T-Mobile offers a wide variety of options when it comes to mobile plans. On the other hand, though, AT&T also offers a Mobile Shared Plan, so let's see how that compares.
Honestly, we could do these comparisons all day long, but at the end of it all, only one thing matters: coverage. Update: It has just been brought to my attention that T-Mobile actually won't provide post-paid service without a two-year contract, even if you bring your own phone. I want to give a special shoutout to LionAR10 at the XDA forums, because this would've been much more difficult to write without this incredibly helpful thread.
How about an article on "Tips for getting out of a Verizon contract without paying an ETF"?
1) (If you really do have a dead zone in your house, you can skip this step and just use that) Make a Faraday cage out of metal mesh (seriously). 2) Periodically, and only while *at your billing address* (very important) on "dummy" calls (with people who know what you're doing), go into your dead zone or put the phone in your Faraday cage to force the call to drop.
4) Call VZW to complain about crappy service and say you want out because you can't place calls from home. Based on the evidence of the dropped calls, traceable to your home area, through their tower data, they'll have to let you out without ETF. If it weren't for the wildly unethical tactics of Verizon, I would find this type of stunt deplorable. This must be the morning, the rates for minute and an individual SMS are of course 0.0395 Euros.
T-Mobile has post-paid SIM-only plans that are cheaper: 60 a month for unlimited talk and text plus 2gb unthrottled data.
True, both fair points and there are people who would value that o er the flexibility of prepaid.
All this doesn't apply to me anyhow - where I live, I get 10GB data, 500 minutes for about $25 a month - excess calls are 1cent a minute (outgoing calls only all incoming free). It's only 10 cents each for more minutes, so even if you need 250 or so it's the same price as Straight Talk, except with a clear defined (higher) data cap. Speaking of Google Voice, I highly recommend making the jump to it and committing to it 100%.
I've been strongly considering making the switch to T-Mobile prepaid, but I've heard there are a lot of problems with Google Voice and T-Mobile prepaid.
I've used Google Voice for voicemail, but never anything more, however, I'm wondering if it is possible to exclusively use my GV number to receive calls and texts (excepting MMS, as far as I know, it is) but also to place calls and have the number that shows up on the receiver's phone be my Google Voice number - but use my Prepaid minutes, not GV account minutes. Google voice supports MMS via Gmail, so if someone send you MMS, its suppose to be in your mail. T-Mobile has problems with using Google Voice just for voicemail without using your Voice number. So if you want to use Google Voice with T-Mobile prepaid, it's either go all in or don't do it.
I've read that you can make this work by calling customer service and telling them to disable voice mail on your T-Mobile number. Port your current number to google voice (one time $20 fee), then you can switch to any provider ever and not worry about losing the number or having to port it again. T-Mobile value plans are a very good option also sice we are bringing our own nexus to the party. I previously had T-Mobile and had very poor reception in my house, thus making me switch to Verizon and the service here is much better.

This was a very hard read cause I found myself really not caring,so I scrolled to the comments to see what's going on. Or in other words, neither of them would require you to sign a 2-year contract in order to use 4G connectivity on your iPad.
It reminds me when my college had to start charging extra to print in their computer clusters. And, iKnow what everyone is thinking: wait, he's about to bash the NEW ipad but, seriously, iAm not. I only have it at work and since I work multiple locations, not all locations have wifi either. This isn't just because of the Nexus 4, though - I've been debating on making the move for months now.
I don't want to be locked into a contract any longer, and there's only one economical way to get away from that: buy the Nexus 4 and move to a GSM carrier. While researching this, it occurred to me that many of you may be facing the same quandary.
For $45 a month plus the cost of a SIM card (a one-time fee of $15), you get unlimited talk and text, as well as "unlimited" data.
In theory, this means that ST should be able to provide better coverage than an MVNO that just partners with one carrier.
The SIMs will save you a couple bucks over Straight Talk and Net 10, as they come in at $13 for either standard or micro variants. From what I've read, the company does throttle data after a certain amount has been consumed, which is said to be somewhere around 5GB. Unlike the previously mentioned networks, though, Solavei has a fairly steep activation fee of $49, plus a SIM card fee of $30. I actually consider most of these to a rip-off in comparison, but they may work for someone out there, so here they are. For $60 a month, you get unlimited talk and text, as well as 2GB of data from SkyView and Black Mobile (hey, at least these guys are clear on that).
It probably goes without saying that this runs on T-Mobile's HSPA+ network, so let's just skip into the plan details. There's nothing wrong with that, because being on a post-paid carrier does offer some benefits, like family plans for example. It offers an expansive HSPA+ network, an up and coming LTE network (not that it matters if you're getting the Nexus 4, though), and coverage basically everywhere you could possibly want to go.
Ergo, it's really hard to sum up which plans are the best buy, since it really depends on your situation, how many people you'll be sharing a plan with, and so many other variables.
You can get unlimited talk and text, plus 2GB of "high-speed" data (after which it will be throttled) for $70 on T-Mo.
On T-Mo, you can get unlimited talk, text, and shared data for $160, and each additional line will set you back $30. There are so many options out there - some of which you may not even have known existed before this post. Then find your contract, look up that fee to make sure it isn't classified as a tax, then call and say it's adversely affecting you. Explain that it's very likely that this call will drop because your home isn't well covered, and request a callback if it does.
If they call back, speak for a bit and say how if it drops again, you'll call back later from somewhere you do get service. I do have a VoIP solution, but sometimes it's not as reliable so I just go over my minutes, but I never go over my minutes enough that it's more than 45 dollars.
Being on Sprint for so long I have forgotten the little details of what consumes a minute of talk time.
This lets you use Google Voice for just your voicemail, without having to use your voice number. None of the networks have full coverage of the country, and T-Mobile's coverage is smaller than the big 2.
For me, this reduced my minute usage down to almost nothing, as most of my calls are made from those two places (and I imagine most can say the same). I don't even know what the heck my T-mobile number is off the top of my head, and that's awesome.
I can't tell you how handy it is to use GV's website to text from a desktop when I'm near one. Also, you reply and place call with your data plan if you download app like Talkatone, which uses GV and support MMS.
I do plan on buying the unlocked 16gb version, but I think I will choose to keep my Verizon plan and just pay $45 from the unlimited Straight Talk plan using AT&T. It's not a service but a feature of the phone which will be available on the Nexus 4 like it is on the Galaxy Nexus. I tether whenever I need to do so (admittedly not very often - maybe once per month for 20 minutes for basic web browsing - rarely more then 100mb). And to make things even better, there are no activation fees, meaning that you can always try out the service for a month or two, then opt out, and hop back on whenever you feel like it.
Its because they were losing so much money on the top 5% of users that were printing 1000+ page reports and entire textbooks on a regular basis.
This is about the bestest' 4G LTE coverage (albeit iLTE) in the land with the better options. I do not have internet at home nor does my girlfriends place, this being the reason why I bought a tab with verizon service. You'll have to check the coverage maps to make sure moving carriers is even a feasible option for you in the first place, though. The latter needs to be in quotes because it's not really unlimited - they throttle after an undisclosed amount of data. Also like ST, Net 10 is an MVNO of both AT&T and T-Mobile, so it shares that benefit with its sister provider. I'm not entirely sure why there's a $5 difference in what appears to be the same basic plan from the same parent company, but it's there regardless. That is, of course, an estimated answer gathered from things I've read across the net and not at all definitive. Unlike the previous two carriers, Simple Mobile has a few different plans to choose from, starting with a $25 unlimited talk and text only 15-day plan.

Solavei is a new take on mobile service, as it relies on a built-in social network to broaden its horizons. That makes your upfront cost $80, whereas it's $15 or less from the other companies we've looked at so far. The closest similar plan on AT&T will set you back $100 (though it includes 3GB of data).
On AT&T, you'll shell out $170 just for voice and text, then tack on $30 per line for data.
All shared plans include unlimited data and text, but you have to choose how much data you'll use every month between the lines. Truth be told, when it comes down to it, AT&T's network is much, much larger than that of T-Mobile.
Still, after taking the time to weigh all the choices, you'll find that there may be more economical plans available compared to your current plan (I did, anyway). I have unlimited data with verizon and if I get a new phone I will lose the unlimited data, can I use that as an excuse? In fact, to even match those you need to be using 300 min a month to make the $50 plans worth while.
It still requires a contract, but it saves you a little money over the long term if you buy a Nexus 4 unlocked and then get on this plan vs getting a subsidized Nexus 4 from T-Mobile. T-Mobile has roaming agreements in place with AT&T and various regional carriers in certain areas that their own coverage doesn't extend to, so that customers can still access voice and limited data features. There's a metric ton of easy VoIP solutions, with GrooveIP probably being the easiest to set up (via Google Voice). It means I can rip their SIM card out and throw it away if they ever change their prices and switch to a competitor in a matter of seconds by just popping in the new SIM and updating my GV account.
Incoming calls, of course, work as well - just have them forward to the T-mobile number and you're set. I'm not at all afraid of having my service fined or cut off, because with the beauty of prepaid GSM, I ran rip the SIM card out and switch to a competitor's in a matter of seconds. I can't remember if this ruling only impacted VZW's network or if the FCC just hadn't reached the other carriers yet.
The choice, however, can be difficult to make as both carriers have pretty speedy 4G netwoks and have more than a few markets blanketed already. Verizon offers WAY better coverage and the ability to use the ipad as a hotspot for roughly the same price.
I get 9-12 Mbps on H+ and 23-32 on LTE with my Note in the Orlando area, some areas are faster.
From what I gathered, this amount can actually fluctuate between markets, and ST is never clear about the level (which is actually the opposite of "straight talk." Go figure). For roughly $40 a month (granted they're on a "traditional" plan), you can get service with 3GB of data.
To add insult to injury, if you go over your data cap with AT&T, you'll get hit with a fee. However, if T-Mo has service in your area, it's worth looking into - it may just save you some funds every month.
Hopefully this write-up shines a little light on subject and helps you make the decision on which provider is best for you.
Not having to port numbers saves a lot of headaches (and 24-72 hour service interruptions suck).
It's the equivalent of Comcast or some other ISP charging you an extra fee to use a wireless router at home. That is why we decided to put together their 4G plan offerings side by side for your convenience. However, most of you would probably go straight for the 3GB data plan from AT&T, which costs the reasonable $30 per month. They'll warn you when you're using too much data, and reserve the right to boot you off their network at any given moment. There's also a $60 plan with all the same features and the addition of unlimited international long distance.
The only issue there, though, is that after fees and taxes, you're approaching post-paid pricing. Of course, you'll have to share minutes, so it's up to you and the plan owner to decide if that's a feasible option. On T-Mo, however, you just have to deal with slower data speeds one your 2GB limit has been reached. So, if you have two lines and select a 6GB data package, it'll cost you $90 for data, then $35 for each smartphone, for a total of $160. For $50 monthly, both carriers will provide you with 5GB of mobile data, and if you are a really heavy data user, the 10GB data plan from Verizon will give you the best value for your money.Still, there are a few more things that we have to mention. For what it's worth, though, I've read on several different sites that the limit is "around 2GB." Grains of salt for everyone!
That's basically the same as the above mentioned plan (unlimited voice and text, plus roughly 3GB of data per line), but saves $70 a month and actually competes with what T-Mobile can offer.
If you intend on using your new iPad as a Wi-Fi hotspot, bear in mind that only Verizon will be offering the service, at least for now. It can be overwhelming, especially when you consider the price between "traditional" plans and shared data. The carrier has about 200 markets under its 4G LTE blanket, and that figure is expected to double by the end of 2012.
And in cities where the carrier does not offer 4G LTE yet, you can ride on its HSPA+ network. The carrier does not only have a much broader LTE footprint, but offers better value for your money, as long as you choose a plan with a monthly allowance of 5 or 10 gigabytes.

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