Sunday, October 6, 2013

My Experience With Verizon on an iPad 3rd Generation with Verizon Modem

As I've written on this blog many times before, I have a strong interest in finding mobile internet access without paying a lot for it.  I also have a summer home that is on the edge of Sprint cell phone and data service and AT&T cell phone service.  AT&T and T-Mobile basically will not work at this house.  Verizon's 3G and voice services seem to work pretty well in this fairly isolated area of Puget Sound. 

After a great deal of research, I decided to buy an iPad 3rd generation with a Verizon modem.  I did this because several news articles and web postings confirmed that I could purchase Verizon cellular data access on this generation of iPad, and that I could set this iPad up as a wifi hotspot, so I could surf the web and send/receive emails from any laptop that could access the iPad hotspot.

I've recently tried out the above features, and I can confirm that the iPad can share its Verizon cellular data as a wifi hotspot.  It's very simple to enable on the iPad.  Buying 1Gb of Verizon data for a month costs $20 (a bargain, compared to other cellular data plans out there, especially compared to Verizon's own data plans) with no activation fee.  You simply turn on the cellular data on your iPad, log into your Verizon account or create one, and choose your data plan.  I will be using the 1Gb for $20 per months plan, or 2Gb for $30 for one month.  I can stop paying for my service anytime that the month or data expires, and come back to it a few months later to start it up again, without paying an activation fee.  I find this to be a fair and reasonable business model. 

Please note that if you are not careful, you can find yourself in a "postpaid" plan with Verizon on your iPad, which I would consider unfair and unreasonable: 

Here's a post from a  Ron Cronovich, a reviewer on Amazon.  His post is at:

In case you're considering a 4G iPad with Verizon, you should know that
Verizon offers two types of service plans. You should know the
difference between them before you buy. I didn't, and it was a hassle
and unnecessary expense.

The two plans are "post-paid" and "pre-paid." Pre-paid has no activation
fee. Post-paid has a $35 activation fee. The cheapest pre-paid plan is
$20/month for 1 gig. The cheapest post-paid plan is $30/month for 2
gigs. So if you use wi-fi as much as possible and don't use 3G/4G a lot,
you've got 2 reasons to choose pre-paid.
You control the pre-paid plan from the ipad itself (under settings >
cellular). You can easily set up the account, choose the option you
want, buy more data if you need it, and do all this without any help
from Verizon customer service. Furthermore, you can purchase data only
when you'll need it, with no activation fees, ever.

You control the post-paid plan from the verizon website. You can
"suspend" service when you don't need it, for a limited amount of time,
and you won't be billed during this time. If you suspend it, better
write down in your calendar when the suspension will end, because you'll
start getting billed automatically on that date. I think there are
restrictions on how many times per year you can suspend the service, and
how long you can suspend it for. There are no such restrictions on the
pre-paid plan.
I learned that Verizon stores make a commission when they sell you a
post-paid plan. That's probably why the guy set me up with a post-paid
plan when I bought the iPad. He acted like he was doing me a favor by
setting up my device. That's shameful, and all of this is a huge
surprise to me - I've been with Verizon for 8 years and generally had
excellent customer service, both on the phone and in Verizon corporate

Despite these hassles, I still recommend Verizon to folks considering an
iPad with 4G cellular. Verizon's 4G service covers way more of the U.S.
than AT&T's 4G service. And you can avoid the hassles I experienced by
telling the Verizon store NOT to set you up on a post-paid plan when you
buy the iPad - or, better yet, buy it from an Apple store.

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