I remember when the iPhone 4 came out and it required a NEW SIM format (for GSM based iPhones). It required a Micro SIM. This wasn’t a problem if you were buying a new iPhone because it would have a new Micro SIM already installed. However, if you wanted to use a different SIM from another phone or carrier then chances are it was a full sized SIM that you would have to cut down to Micro SIM size. There were several good Micro SIM cutters on the market and I own a couple of them. I even traved with one in my suitcase in case I got to a country that I wanted to buy a pre-paid local SIM and needed to cut it down for my iPhone 4 or 4s. Once again we are faced with a new SIM format. Now the iPhone 5 and iPad mini uses a Nano SIM. This SIM is even smaller AND thinner than the Micro SIM. That of course poses a problem for those that want to move SIMs between devices. As to be expected there are now a few different Nano SIM cutters on the market. Some even come with sandpaper to sand the back of the SIM down to make it slightly thinner. I used one to cut down my AT&T Micro SIM down to Nano SIM size to use in my new iPad mini. My AT&T SIM is originally from my iPad 2 and is grandfathered in to an unlimited data plan. This is GREAT for streaming video on the road, so I wanted the ability to use this SIM in my iPad mini as well. Although this is not the cutter I used in the video, this is the one I’d recommend here.
Here’s a video on how the cut went:
I’ve been beating up on AT&T a bit lately for their practices that basically punish users (early adopters) of their Unlimited Data Plans. The most recent punishment was when iOS 6 was introduced, Apple finally allowed for FaceTime calls over Cellular on iPhone 4s, iPhone 5 and iPad 3 (or higher). However, once again AT&T said NO to this if you were one of the original iPhone users still grandfathered in to an unlimited data plan. This is the 3rd time in recent history that AT&T has crippled a feature that the device or os could do, just because you weren’t on one of their “newer” ie. non-unlimited data plans. The first one was when iOS supported tethering. Unlimited data plan users still can’t access or add this feature even if they are willing to pay extra for it without leaving their unlimited data plan. The 2nd one was when the iPad allowed tethering and once again AT&T was silent on this issue for all users. Lastly there was the FaceTime over Cellular feature that once again AT&T said NO to all but those on their newest Shared Data Plans. I get it. AT&T wants users to move off those Unlimited Data Plans and they are trying to force the issue by basically crippling the features that your device can do. Is it fair? NO. Do you have a choice? Yep, you can switch plans or switch carriers and that’s exactly what I did with my iPads. Any cellular capable iPad I buy, I now buy the Verizon version. The irony is that back in the day Verizon was the carrier that played these games by disabling features like bluetooth on certain handsets. However, Verizon has changed their ways somewhat and now they say come on it.
AT&T may have changed their tune too
It appears that at least for some, starting yesterday AT&T has quietly been turning on FaceTime over Cellular for All users (iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPad 3, etc. on iOS 6). There are several reports that users simply turned their iPhones off and back on again and either the feature was already turned on or they were able to enable it without the familiar blue message I still get above. These users that have it working are all claiming that they are on a grandfathered Unlimited Plan. However, there are just as many users like me where the feature still isn’t enabled yet. So perhaps it will take time for it to roll out to all or perhaps it was a mistake, fluke or still not available for “all” users (ie those on Corporate Unlimited Data Plans), but time will tell. If this feature does roll out to all, It will change my attitude towards AT&T to be a bit more favorable than it is right now, and it truly would be a Happy Tech Thanksgiving.
Does it work for you? Did you power your iPhone down and back on again? Are you on the original Unlimited Data Plan? What state are you in? (keep in mind you have to be on iOS 6 and an iPhone 5, iPhone 4s or iPad 3 or higher).
If you’re an early iPhone adopter like me, then chances are you are grandfathered in to AT&T’s “Unlimited” data plan. AT&T has taken a lot of heat (and deservedly so) over playing games with this plan and doing things like throttling users back that use a lot of their “unlimited” data and holding back features ie. Data Tethering and FaceTime over Cellular, from users still on these plans.
Never gonna give it up!
Like many of you I have no plans of giving up my unlimited data voluntarily. Actually I don’t have a choice as my AT&T plan is through work. I do use a lot of data when I travel. I’m on this plan until they take it away (cold dead hands) or until work changes to something else. However, I also have a family plan with family members on it. Many of those iPhones and iPads were on unlimited plans too. A couple of months ago I decided to look not only at my bill, but to also look at usage and I found that most of these family members don’t use a lot of iPhone 3G/4G data at all. They are on WiFi most of the time either at home, work or school. I also had 3 iPads on various monthly pay-as-you-go plans. I decided to bite the bullet and move everything over to one of AT&T’s Shared Data Plans. Doing the math it would save me about $30/month and everyone (but me) would get the benefits of tethering and FaceTime over 3G/4G. I went with the 10GB/month plan because for 5 iPhones and 3 iPads the math you don’t really save anything by going with a lower plan as the cost per phone goes up!
How’s it going?
This is my first full month after the switch and as I suspected they didn’t go anywhere near the 10GBs of allotted data. Again remember this is for 5 iPhones and 3 iPads.
The Bottom Line
While I like the idea of buying data and using it anyway that I want, I still don’t like AT&T’s tactics here of not allowing you to use your device to fullest if you were an early adopter on an unlimited data plan. If you use the data (especially video streaming) then by all means stick to your unlimited plan. Stick it to the man! However, if you could save a few bucks and you’re not using that much data you might be actually better off on one of the new shared data plans. These plans also include unlimited voice and unlimited texting.
I love my MiFi 3G hotspot! I use it all the time. The only thing that can be a bit of a drag is when it runs out of battery power. If I’m near an outlet I can just plug in the supplied USB adapter and run it all day. However, if I’m in a seminar or other setting where I don’t have immediate access to an outlet the battery can only last about 4 hours tops. That all changed when I “super sized” my MiFi Battery.
A 3300 mAh Extended Battery Lasts me all Day!
As long as I have a good 3G signal, my MiFi will now last me all day with this battery. It’s designed to replace the stock battery and battery cover. This way it charges internally and as far as your MiFi is concerned it doesn’t see any difference. The good folks over at The 3G Store sell both Verizon MiFi 2200 and Novatel GSM MiFi 2352/2372 Extended Batteries for $90.
Yes it makes the MiFi about twice as thick, but it’s worth it if you need to be mobile and connected for several hours throughout the day.
Although I know it's iPad 2 day (more on that to come), let's not forget that Apple released iOS 4.3 this week for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. One of the most compelling features for iPhone users is the Personal Hotspot feature (finally!). However, use of this feature on AT&T comes at high price. I'm not talking about the monthly charge as much as I am the fact that original iPhone users have to make a choice if they are thinking about using it. Prior to the iPhone 4 iPhone users on AT&T have enjoyed unlimited 3G data for a single monthly charge. AT&T grandfathered this plan for people upgrading to the iPhone 4. In June 2010 AT&T discontinued the unlimited data plans for NEW iPhone/Smartphone customers. While the new plans offer a lower monthly charge for less data, the highest plan is capped at 2GBs/month. If you go over, you pay!
Unlimited Data or Personal Hotspot?
In order to take advantage of the new Personal Hotspot feature that allows you to connect your Laptop, WiFi iPad or other WiFi devices to your iPhone wirelessly to share your iPhone's 3G data connection, you have to switch to the newer Data Pro plan ($25/month for 2GB of data) AND you have to ADD a tethering plan ($20/month) for a total of $45/month. What sucks the most about this is that the extra $20/month doesn't get you any more data! It's a "just because we can" charge. CORRECTION: The New DataPro tethering plan gives your 4GB total per month. Of course if you use the Personal Hotspot feature you'll likely hit that 4GBs faster and then have to start paying for additional data. On the plus side you can choose to turn this feature on or off on your account as needed. If you know you're going on a trip and want to use it, you can turn it on and then turn it off for the following month. Either way, you still have to give up your Unlimited Data Plan to use it.
Your choice of course is to not switch. Besides that option, you can weigh the cost of a data card or the MiFi if you're going to be a heavy user. Lastly since Jailbreaking your iPhone is legal, you could use a Jailbroken App that allows you to turn your iPhone into a personal hotspot without switching plans (you may be violating AT&T's rules by doing this and I'm not telling you to do so. You would be doing this AT YOUR OWN RISK and risk to your Apple Warranty). Verizon is already rumored to be dropping their iPhone unlimited plans soon too!
For now and as long as it's allowed I'll be sticking with my Unlimited Plan!
AT&T and Verizon you really need to rethink "data".
I've waited for this day for over 3 years now. It's the day that my "I'd get an iPhone if it were on Verizon" friends can finally shut up about it 🙂 Frankly I don't really care which phone you use or which network you use it on. Use whatever you like!
I've said it before and I'll say it again now. I have no plans of switching off AT&T, simply because my service has been decent and my GSM phone has worked worldwide. However, I realize for countless others out there your experience has NOT been as good and you can't wait to be on Verizon. Well today is your day. Verizon just announced the long awaited iPhone on their network. Although I have no plans of switching I am very much looking forward to the competition that this will give AT&T. I also hope that many of you on AT&T do switch (if you really are unhappy with AT&T) as it will free up some bandwidth for us who are staying.
I raise a glass of champagne and I celebrate this long awaited day with you. Enjoy!
Oh Snap! Mobile hotspot included for up to 5 devices. Um, AT&T? Helloooooo? What's your response? Hellloooo? 😉
$199 for the 16GB Model and $299 for the 32GB Model – iPhone 4 on Verizon.
Looks like the Verizon iPhone 4 will share the same experience as other CDMA phones in that you can't do data and talk on the phone at the same time! While this isn't new to Verizon customers, it's something that AT&T iPhone users would be giving up in the switch.
I love my MiFi! However, the minute I tell people about it they get turned off when they hear that it runs $60/month. Luckily for me this road warrior perk provided by my employer. Even though I couldn't think of going on a trip without it, I can certainly see how someone that doesn't travel as often as I do, wanting the convenience of a MiFi. It's easy for me to justify a MiFi for work: At $60/month I look at it as that's 6 nights worth of hotel internet at $9.99/night (and that's if you're lucky. Yes I know some hotels offer it free, but most don't). So if I use my MiFi at least 6 nights a month instead of hotel internet it's a wash. Let's say you don't travel much. However, when you do travel you want the freedom of having your own mobile hotspot without paying a monthly fee or the ridiculous tethering charges that AT&T and others charge to use your smartphone as a modem.
Virgin Mobile Has the Right Idea
Pay as you go! Buy a MiFi from them for $150 (great price). Then only pay for it when you need to use it:
Even the 30 days/300MB at $20 option is probably more than most people would need for a two-four week trip.
If I suddenly found myself having to pay for a MiFi out of my own pocket, I wouldn't think twice about going this route. I don't use it every day and this way I can buy the device once and use it/pay for it when I need it.
One of my main AT&T/iPhone complaints has finally been addressed. Ever since the iPhone 3G (and for some, the original iPhone) came out two years ago, I wondered why AT&T was so adamant about NOT allowing you to tether (use your iPhone as a modem/WiFi hotspot) your iPhone to your laptop and share its 3G data connection. After all they allow this with every other smart phone they sell and they even sell 3G data cards. Also no one ever expected this to be FREE. So I never really got why this was such a big deal? Granted AT&T couldn't do it alone and it would require built-in support by Apple in the iPhone OS (iOS). However, that support came in iPhone OS 3 LAST YEAR. So what took AT&T a YEAR to allow it on the iPhone for us in the US? They claim that they still needed to tweak their network to allow the influx of additional data traffic. While this may be true, the thing is since it's not FREE, not everyone is going to do it. Also it's not something you're going to be using all the time or would you?
Data Plan caps may have been the real issue
I don't doubt that AT&T needed to (and still needs to) work on "the world's fastest 3G network" to get it ready for even the slightest increase in traffic, but I suspect that an even larger issue was not wanting you to be able to pay a flat fee and have unlimited use. Even when you go with a $60/month 3G data card from AT&T there is a 5GB/month cap on it. Up until now all iPhone plans have been "UNLIMITED" data. So while the amount of 3G data that iPhone users currently consume must be HUGE, I'm sure giving users unlimited tethering would have brought this fragile network to its knees.
Do you want unlimited iPhone 3G data or do you want tethering?
It seemed like only last week when I shared my 1st month of iPad data use with you all. I started out with the 250MB/month iPad plan knowing that I could always upgrade to the unlimited data plan if I needed to. Now it looks as if the unlimited plan is going away unless you act TODAY! Starting today, AT&T will start NEW data plans for ALL Smart phone devices (including iPad/iPhone). So if you already bought an iPad 3G and thought that you might some day want to go "UNLIMITED" for $29.99/month, then you better do it now, because starting today that plan goes away for NEW subscribers. Here's the break down:
The OLD Plans (prior to 6/7/2010)
iPad – 250 MB/month $14.99/month
Unlimited Data Plan $29.99/month
The OLD iPhone Plans
iPhone 2G UNLIMITED+200 SMS Data $20/month
iPhone 3G/3GS Unlimited Data $30/month (+$5/month for 200 SMS)
The NEW Data Plans starting TODAY for NEW accounts (iPhones too)
DataPlus 200MB/month $15/month
DataPro 2GB/month $25/month
Tethering your SmartPhone (iPhone with 4.0 software)
DataPro plan $25 + Tethering $20 = $45/month
While the prices are technically cheaper, Unlimited goes away! 2GB's sounds like a lot and it probably is for MOST people, but if you plan to stream video on your device 2GB in a month can be eaten up pretty quickly. These new plans now make it so that you have to monitor your usage closely. Luckily if you do go over, you're not charged a per kilobyte fee. Instead you'll be able to add on another block of usage for a set price (another 200MB for $15 or if you're on the DataPro plan you get another 1GB for $10). So again if you do a lot of streaming, your bill could be quite high. I should also mention that all of these NEW plans do come with FREE access to any AT&T WiFi hotspots.
No iPad to iPhone tethering, yet – According to AT&T, they have no problem with you tethering your iPad to your iPhone to share the iPhone's data connection. However, currently the iPad doesn't support it in it's OS and Apple says that the 4.0 OS update isn't coming to the iPad until the fall. So we may have to wait til then to see if the iPad will tether to the iPhone.
How much Data have I used on my iPhone or other smartphone?
Although you can look this info up on your device, I find the most accurate way is to dial *3282# from your phone and you'll get a text message with the break down of your current usage.
Don't think you're going to use that much data?
Maybe you won't, but here's some food for thought. If you're just doing normal surfing, email, etc. then you're probably fine. However, let's not forget that iTunes sells and rents MOVIES! The average movie size is 1.5GB. So if you rent a movie over 3G, you could quickly hit the limit of the DataPro plan and then start having to pay for additional 1GB blocks at $10 a pop before your next billing cycle. I know it's easy to say, "well don't do that. Download your movies while you're on WiFi." However, this wasn't an issue yesterday and now somehow makes the mobile platforms seem a little less fun.