Now that the new iPad has finally been unveiled, its true potential can only be reached with an always-on 4G network. The ‘Big Three’ –Bell, Rogers and Telus – all offer plans that will be ready for your brand-spanking new LTE-enabled iPad.
To get people on the 4G bandwagon, the ‘Big Three’ all offer two options: monthly plans and flex-rate plans. And the great thing is that you don’t have to sign your life away for three years – no contracts are required.
On the surface, most of the plans offered are almost identical, but it’s the details that you will have to pay close attention to.
Surprisingly, monthly plans are consistent across the board. The ‘Big Three’ all offer the same amount of data for exactly the same price: $15 for 250 MB and $35 for 5 GB. (Bell does offer 10 MB for $5 and Telus has a 500 MB for $20 plan)
Bell takes it a step further and offers streaming TV shows and sporting events for $45 (+ 5GB). And the streaming does not count as a ‘hit’ towards your data use.
If you know your data use is going to remain pretty consistent on a monthly basis, these plans will be for you.
But most iPad users are probably not going to be able to magically predict how much data they are going to use every month, and instead of paying per-megabyte for going over their download limits, are probably better of signing up for flex plans.
Flex plans allow you to not worry about how much data you use. The more you end up using, the more you will pay, and if you use less, you will pay less. The pricing does get a bit more confusing – especially when you compare what each carrier offers.
Taking a look at Rogers’ flex-rate plans and you are probably wondering, why the WalMart-like pricing and their plan is about two dollars higher than Telus and Bell.
Update: Rogers has introduced a new flex data plan that has unlimited data for the first two months, then double data for the next four.
Bell’s offerings are very straight forward, but it is clear Bell wants users to subscribe to their 5 GB plan. Average users (if you aren’t planning to stream hours of video) will probably want to skip over Bell’s flex-plan.
Update: $35 activation fee for the flex plan; the 30-day data pass is only for iPad and iPad 2
The flex-rate data plan offered by Telus is comparable to what is offered by Bell–they do share the same 4G network. Telus takes it a step further by having options between 250 MB and their 5 GB plans, which is great for casual users.
Today Telus has introduced a new flex plan promo, which caps overages at $5/month for the first two months. So that means you can go over up to 5GB of data–for only $5 extra.
Personal Hotspots / Tethering
We recently confirmed Rogers’ tethering plans and Bell already said all iPad plans will support the new personal hotspot feature. Expect Telus to release more tethering details once the new iPad is released.
Update 1: Telus data plans will support Personal Hotspot (thx Christian!)
Smartphone users already on a data-plan, that want to share their data with the New iPad – and don’t want to switch carriers – have different options depending on their carrier.
Rogers has the most extensive plans offered for data sharing which you can view here. Rogers has not indicated on their website how customers can sign up for the share plans without customers changing their current cell phone plans.
But, if you’re a Rogers subscriber on a current 3G plan or an existing iPhone 6GB plan and want to get the 4G-enabled New iPad, you will have to contact Rogers directly.
If you are planning to get a phone through Bell, or already have service through them, as long as you have a minimum 1 GB of data included in the plan, Bell is offering data sharing for only $10 more (until March 31, 2012).
Hands down, Bell has the largest wifi network in the country, conveniently located at every Starbucks, McDonald’s and Indigo Books across the country. Rogers has partnered with Second Cup.
But don’t get caught up in making this a deal-breaking feature – you can access these hotspots using any wi-fi enabled device.
If you already have an iPhone (or smartphone) through Bell (bigger bonus if you scored their 6 GB promotion), your new iPad would only cost $10 more to add to your existing plan.
Telus has not released many details on their plans. Their current plans are great for casual users. But if you think your data use is going to consist of plenty of iCloud and video streaming action, Bell will probably be a better option for you.
Bell’s ease of use and wide-array of exclusive streaming TV has made them worth considering to harness the potential of your spanking-new, new iPad.
We will continue to update this post so stay tuned.
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