iPad Total Cost of Ownership - ATT vs Sprint vs Verizon vs Clear

 
In the weeks leading up to the iPad launch, Verizon,  Sprint and then Clear.com all made announcements, pushes, or even commercials talking about their mobile hot spots to support the iPad or even iPhone in the case of the Sprint Ad.   What none of them are doing is breaking down their costs vs. what it will cost from Apple / AT&T.  But no worries the attached graph breaks down the total cost of ownership for the iPad and a Mobile Data Plan for all 4 options.  


As you can quickly see the cheapest solution is going with Apple / AT&T - which for 3 years is $1000 cheaper to own and operate on AT&T than on Sprint or Verizon.  It is also the most convenient solution as there is no extra hardware to carry around as is required by the other three solutions.  However if you are looking for the fasted connection speed.  Then you will want to look at the 4G (WiMax) solutions from Clear and Sprint.  But note with both Clear and Sprint when you are not on the 4G network - then the data is not unlimited.  You have a 5GB cap on the 3G connection or 300 MB/mo. while off-network roaming. Additional monthly usage over 5GB costs $0.05/MB. You may not use more than 300 MB/mo. while off-network roaming.


My recommendation - If you want the simplest and cheapest solution - hands down go with built in 3G and AT&T.


If you do not want anything to do with AT&T or want the fastest solution then Clear is the next best option.  


But each solution does have it pluses and minuses.  Here they are to help you decide for yourself.


Apple / AT&T:

Pluses: Cheapest solution by a wide margin. Most convenient solution - All in One.  Best for the road warrior that cuts the handles off of tooth brushes to save on weight.  Never any overages if you go with $30 plan. Very easy to turn on and off 3G plan so you can save even more money or even go with the $15 a month plan for very limited bandwidth (250 MB).  


Minuses: If in NY or San Francisco - AT&T - enough said.  Need to wait until late April for your iPad.  


Clear: 

Pluses: Fastest connection speed (same as with Sprint) WiMax.  Cheaper than Sprint and Verizon.  Can go month to month with data plan.  Can use 4G/3G modem also with your laptop when not using iPad. 


Minuses:  Very limited 4G coverage. Data cap on 3G coverage area with $0.05 per MB fee after cap is reached.  Need to buy both a hot spot unit ($140) and a 4G/3G modem ($225) - on top of the iPad - highest up front cost.  


Sprint: 

Pluses: Overdrive is one device ($99) so lower upfront cost vs. Clear.


Minuses: Very limited 4G coverage. Data cap on 3G coverage with $0.05 per MB fee after cap is reached. Most expensive solution.  Over $1000 more than Apple / AT&T solution for first 3 years. 


Verizon: 

Pluses:  MiWi is a single device and cheaper ($50) than the other options. Verizon 3G coverage is the widest of all the options. 


Minuses:  $1000 more over 3 years than AT&T option with a slower connection speed than AT&T 3G.  Data cap of 5 GB per month.  


NOTE: The cheapest solution overall really is just getting the $699 WiFi only iPad and not getting a data plan.  This post is just on comparing the iPad for those that must get a data plan or feel they must get a data plan. 


For more information check out these links:


Apple 


Clear


Sprint


Verizon - MiFi

Verizon - Plans



Category:breaking news -- posted at: 3:39pm EST
Comments[4]

  • While you have stated that the AT&T option is the best, the fact to that is that you would not be able to use Skype as it will work only off of WiFi. The mobile hotspots by sprint or Verizon will be able to have more than the iPad using it's data connection at one time. I have used AT&T for the iPhone since day one. I am deciding between the Verizpn MiFi and the Sprint overdrive. I have also noticed that Sprint gives out a discount depending on your employer. Seeing how you live in Sprints back yard, wouldn't it be logical to check on them? Just a thought.

    posted by: Guillermo on 2010-04-13 09:52:01

  • George - My Analysis is about getting a Hotspot for your iPad. Not for other devices. Per Verizon and PalmPre - well you would still need to get a full phone plan for the Pre. So costs would be even higher than $60 a month.

    posted by: rob@wizzard.tv on 2010-04-05 14:21:46

  • Incomplete analysis, Mifi and Overdrive allows multiple device connections. Also Verizon just dropped Hotspot on the PalmPre plus to free. Free beats not free, one connection for $30 on Ipad gets beat by 5 devices for $60.

    posted by: George on 2010-04-04 17:26:29

  • This is excellent information. The only other scenario is if you already have Verizon service for example, and use that service (i.e. a usb modem) on your macbook pro or other laptop. You'll want to use that same device for both your laptop and your ipad as needed. In that scenario, it's wise to get the wi-fi ipad and then utilize a device such as the Aluratek CDM530am wireless router, or MiWi. -Scott Spiro blog.scottspiro.com

    posted by: Scott Spiro on 2010-04-04 05:44:45

Adding comments is not available at this time.

Listen to the Latest Episode

Subscribe to Show

Podcast Feed Podcast Feed Podcast Feed Google Podcasts
Google Plus Community Tii App






Search




EXTERNAL LINKS

  • podCast411
  • Mac OS Ken
  • MacCast
  • Chris in London
  • Productivity Pad
  • Mac Rumors
  • iPhone Alley
  • iPhone Savior
  • iPhone Dev Team
  • Free App a Day



  • Archives

    2018
    November
    October
    September
    August
    July
    June
    May
    April
    March
    February
    January

    2017
    December
    November
    October
    September
    August
    July
    June
    May
    April
    March
    February
    January

    2016
    December
    November
    October
    September
    August
    July
    June
    May
    April
    March
    February
    January

    2015
    December
    November
    October
    September
    August
    July
    June
    May
    April
    March
    February
    January

    2014
    December
    November
    October
    September
    August
    July
    June
    May
    April
    March
    February
    January

    2013
    December
    November
    October
    September
    August
    July
    June
    May
    April
    March
    February
    January

    2012
    December
    November
    October
    September
    August
    July
    June
    May
    April
    March
    February
    January

    2011
    December
    November
    October
    September
    August
    July
    June
    May
    April
    March
    February
    January

    2010
    December
    November
    October
    September
    August
    July
    June
    May
    April
    March
    February
    January

    2009
    December
    November
    October
    September
    August
    July
    June
    May
    April
    March
    February
    January

    2008
    December
    November
    October
    September
    August
    July
    June
    May
    April
    March
    February
    January

    2007
    December
    November
    October
    September
    August
    July
    June
    May
    April
    March






    Directly Support the Show