One of the new features with Apple’s third generation iPad is the ability to use your iPad as a personal hotspot, just like you are currently able to do with the iPhone and other Android smartphones. With the new iPad supporting LTE, the promise of having an iPad along with a LTE hotspot is a great idea for any person who travels a lot.
However, CNET has confirmed that AT&T, once again, will not support the personal hotspot feature on the third-generation iPad at launch. If you recall, this isn’t the first time that AT&T has held this feature from paying customers. When the personal hotspot feature was introduced to the iPhone with iOS 4, AT&T declined to support the feature at launch, leaving US customers without the ability to use one of the key features of iOS 4, while international customers were able to use it at will. AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel told CNET, “We are working with Apple to enable this feature in the future, but we currently do not offer it.”
However, back then AT&T was the only carrier of the iPhone, and now Verizon also carries the iPhone and iPad. Verizon has once again shown that they are willing to allow their customers to use their devices as they wish, and has confirmed that Verizon will support the personal hotspot feature on the new iPad at launch, at no extra charge.
AT&T’s iPad plans are $15 for 250MB of data, $30 per month for 3GB of data, and $50 for 5GB of data. The same $50 plan on your smartphone will give you the personal hotspot option. Verizon’s iPad plans are 1GB of data for $20, 2GB for $30, 5GB for $50, and 10GB for $80. However, Verizon typically charges an additional $20 per month for smartphones on these plans for the ability to use the personal hotspot, something they have confirmed they will not be charging for iPad data plans.
At this point, there really isn’t any reason to purchase an AT&T enabled iPad. AT&T’s LTE coverage is tiny compared to Verizon’s, and their 3G service has been known to be spotty at best. Couple that with the fact that once again AT&T is limiting the hottest device on the market’s features, and there really is no reason to choose an AT&T enabled iPad.
AT&T at one time may have been Apple’s preferred partner, but it may only be a matter of time before Apple’s preferred partner becomes Verizon if AT&T continually restricts Apple’s latest and greatest devices and features from its customers.