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The new iPad data plans: Which is the one for you?

Three is the Apple of my eye
Product: Third-generation iPad | Publisher: Apple | Format: iPad
Third-generation iPad iPad, thumbnail 1
That time is near. The day where Apple's new iPad hits the shelves for a micro-second before being immediately sold and placed into the sweaty, wanting hands of iPad fans everywhere.

If you're one of those tech-savvy iPad lovers in the UK then there's a good chance the 3G model will be at the top of your wanted list. This means that you're going to need a data plan.

UK 3G deals


At the time of publication, Three is the only carrier in the UK to have released details on data packages which are exclusively geared towards the new iPad. It is also the one which gets the Pocket Gamer stamp of approval as the deals are currently the cheapest in the UK with with best data package allowance.

For the entry level 16GB 3G + Wi-Fi iPad is only £99 with £29 per month on a two-year contract, so overall you'll pay £795.

If you decide to choose the £25 per month option, the up-front cost bumps to £159, but the overall total cost drop to £759.

However, you may not want just the bog standard new iPad, so the chart below shows the tariffs for each new iPad model. The moral of the story for all of them though is more you pay upfront, the more you save in the long run.


There are also one month rolling contracts, which for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB new iPad itself will set you back £479, £549, and £629 respectively.

The rolling option gives you 10GB of data for £15 a month or 1GB for £7.50. The trade-off being that you won't be tied down with a two year contract.


Orange have yet to release details of any new iPad exclusive deals, but they have at least given some guidance for any customer currently on one of their iPad tariffs who wishes to upgrade.

Existing customers will pay £199 for the 16GB Wi-Fi/4G, £249 for the 32GB Wi-Fi/4G, and £349 for the 64GB Wi-Fi/4G. This appears to rely on you renewing your current contract for another 24 months, however.

Any new customers coming into the fray on the other hand will pay £299 for the 16GB Wi-Fi/4G, £279 for the 32GB Wi-Fi/4G, and £379 for the 64GB Wi-Fi/4G. This includes setting yourself up with a £25 per month two-year contract.

Though that package only gives you 1GB of anytime data, and 1GB of "Quiet Time Data" (midnight to 4pm). Though you do get unlimited access to the BT Openzone Wi-Fi hotspots dotted around the country, so that's something.


O2 has said that they will not be selling the new iPad, but they have confirmed that they will have their own data packages for anybody who wishes to still use their network.

Their pay-as-you-go surf plans cost £2.04 a day for 200MB and unlimited Wi-fi hotspots, £10.21 over 30 days (recurring) for 1GB, and unlimited Wi-fi, or finally £15.32 over 30 days (recurring) for 2GB and unlimited Wi-fi.

Data allowance through O2 is also doubled for every third "top-up" users make, with the packages available to be changed and controlled from the iPad itself. Giving them the best pay-as-you-go style tariff on the market right now.


Vodafone do plan to offer new iPad specific deals, but won't announce the details of their pricing structure until 12AM on March 16th.

We will update this post as and when we know their tariffs and if they are competitive against the ones mentioned above.

US 4G Networks

Tragically, for the whole country, the UK won't be getting any 4G data plans until a later date, unlike the Americas.

For our friends across that big blue, there are only really two carriers which you can throw your money at if you're after that sweet, sweet 4G speed.


For just the data package alone you will have to part with $14.99 for 250MB a month, $30 for 3GB a month, and $50 for 5GB a month. If you're investing in the new iPad and the 4G model then the bare minimum that is worth going for here is the $30 package.

With the 4G speed being what it is you'll likely drink through that 250MB extremely quickly and the prices per GB after the tariff overruns can rocket scarily high.


Again, just for the data package, you're looking at $30 for 2GB, $50 for 5GB, or $80 for 10GB. With Verizon it pays to, well, pay. Their $50 deal comes in line with AT&T but if you're willing and able to drop $80 a month you do save and get to enjoy that stunning 4G speed to its fullest.

Version also have the added advantage that every GB after the tariff overruns is only $10. Meaning you don't get the same per GB deal as you do on their biggest data package, but it keeps with their average price per GB.

Reviewer photo
Duncan Aird 15 March 2012
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