I only used 171MBs of 3G data in the first month of iPad use

When I got my iPad WiFi+3G back on April 30th, I resisted signing up for the Unlimited 3G Data Plan ($29.99/month). Since there is no contract and you can upgrade or downgrade at any time I wanted to see if I could get by on the 250MB/month Plan ($14.99/month). My thought was "why pay more up front when you're not sure how much you're really going to use?". I was right! In the first month I used my iPad as much as I needed to/wanted to on 3G. The rest of the time I was on WiFi or traveling abroad and using it on WiFi. I only used 171MB in the first month. So technically I saved $14.99 by NOT doing the impulse thing and signing up for the Unlimited Plan right off the bat. Now that's not to say that I wan't have some months where I need more 3G data and if I do, I'll purchase more at that time. However, today I feel like I just saved $14.99 by not giving it to AT&T up front.

If you have an iPad WiFi+3G and you're not going to be doing a lot of streaming video over 3G, I would advise trying out the 250MB/month plan first. Why not? You can always upgrade on the spot the day you need more. By the way, here's the renewal email I got from AT&T:

16 Replies to “I only used 171MBs of 3G data in the first month of iPad use”

  1. I just read (on padgadget.com) that AT&T is discontinuing the Unlimited Data Plan for $29.99 as of June 7th and introducing a $24.99 2GB plan instead. Existing users can auto-renew the Unlimited plan, but it won’t be available after June 7th otherwise. Our usage this past month was similar to yours, as it turns out.

  2. I am more interested in the amount of data usage you get when streaming video and/or tethered – as the next iPhone OS will allow for.

    Plus – 2GB with tethering for $45/month – dang thats a lot of money for practically nothing….

  3. I bought my iPad 3G on release day and got the unlimited data plan. I use it at work every day, and when I’m out n’ about. I am up to 4.1gb of data. Looks like I will have to keep the 29.99 unlimited plan because 2gb for only $5 less is a raw deal. They’re charging MORE per byte now. They’ve effectively doubled the data price. I’m REALLY unhappy about this. If you go over the 2gb, it’s $10/gb!

    AT&T, you screwed us all. I would have been ok with seeing you change to a 5gb cap for $25/mo, but slashing it all the way down to 2gb? Bait & switch!!!

    1. I agree! I smell a class action lawsuit in the making that I’d be glad to join. Apple told us the iPad 3G plan could be changed at will, no problem. Now, less than 30 days later they’ve reneged on their side of the deal. I had planned to change to the cheaper plan, then back up to the unlimited plan for vacations, stays in the hospital where there’s no Internet connection.

      As far as 3G data consumption, in the first 2 days I had the iPad I blew through 300 MB while waiting in the doctor’s office for 90 minutes, and another hour waiting in the car the next day. All I did was normal web surfing and a short test of Netflix streaming (about 3 minutes worth). Even 5GB a month isn’t enough as far as I’m concerned.

  4. I’m confused. My iPad 3G only shows a status that I have 23 hours left. There’s nothing to indicate how much bandwidth I’ve used, even if I select the option for Full Account Overview.

    I wonder why you get a different display than I do?

  5. My usage is just over 5 gigs. Basically this is a bait and switch by AT&T. I wonder just how long I’ll be able to keep my grandfathered plan?

  6. Similar experience here. Got the 250 MB plan to see if that would be adequate for how I use my iPad. Mostly wifi at home and starbux, etc. And then some 3G elsewhere.

    My 30 days expired yesterday and I still had 80 MB left. The capped plan works fine for me…




    Unlimited Talk = $70 a month
    Unlimited Text = $20 a month
    25 MB Data = $10 a month <— STUPID. Almost all users will exceed this.
    5 GB Data = $30 a month
    Tethering = $30 a month

    Data over 5 GB = $0.05 per MB = $50 per GB.



    Unlimited Talk = $70 a month
    Unlimited Text = $20 a month
    200 MB Data = $15 a month <— covers 68% of iPhone users.
    2 GB Data = $25 a month <— covers 98% of iPhone users.
    3 GB Data = $35 a month
    Tethering = $20 a month

    Data over 5 GB = $0.05 per MB = $50 per GB.



    AT&T's rates are very favorable compared to Verizon's rates.

    AT&T's Tethering rate is less than Verizon's

    For the 98% of users who use less than 2 GB a month, AT&T is $5 a month cheaper than Verizon, saving $60 a year. With tethering, AT&T is $15 a month cheaper than Verizon, saving $180 a year.

    Ideally, AT&T should also have a limit of 5 GB a month, like Verizon. This makes it easier to use video conferencing on the new iPhones. After all, AT&T in the 1970s did envision someday having video conferencing on phones. The 5GB limit would still be a good cutoff point for heavy data users.

  8. You forget Sprint, which actually has better overall signal strength here in SoCal than either AT&T or Verizon. (This according to CNet’s wireless tool) Except for their new 4G plan Sprint is cheaper than the other two wireless carriers.

  9. OK, here’s one for everyone. I find this quite odd and even went to the extreme of completely disabling my cellular data toggle switch so ONLY WiFi shows on my iPad 3G. Despite this my usage data keeps going up gradually and I’m NOT on the AT&T network when this happens – ALL WiFi only.

    Does anyone know why this is happening? I assumed by turning off cellular data I would save from using data but it doesn’t appear that way.

    Very Confused.

  10. David, check the month of the most recent posts, if it’s over several months, everyones moved on and no one will respond, sorry.

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