How To Use An Unlimited Data Plan With The iPad

Recently AT&T in the US replaced its unlimited data plan for iPad users with a $25 per month plan that is capped at 2 GB. When I went to purchase my iPad yesterday, the guy in the Apple store told me that there was no unlimited data plan that I could use with the iPad. That was simply not acceptable to me. This is besides the point that I am from India and would like to use the 3G service from my service provider back home, and for that matter, anywhere else in the world. I told the Apple guy that the iPad was not locked to AT&T, unlike the iPhone. So I could buy a SIM card from T-Mobile which has an unlimited data plan and use it in the iPad. He replied that the iPad uses something called a MicroSIM which was smaller than a regular SIM card. Not quite happy with the answer, I decided to investigate.

I walked into a nearby T-Mobile store and began asking questions. I found that a MicroSIM is just a regular SIM card, just that is is smaller in size. Basically the extra plastic around the chip does not exist. Also there is a tool that cuts a regular SIM card to the size of a MicroSIM. So I signed up for an unlimited data plan from T-Mobile and got their normal SIM card cut to the size of a MicroSIM. I then went back to the Apple store, bought an iPad with 3G, chucked out the AT&T SIM card that came with it and stuck in the T-Mobile SIM. It worked. In fact, the WiFi in the hotel I’m staying just gave way and I am posting this using the unlimited data plan from T-Mobile.

So now all I need to do is get myself a SIM cutter and I can use my iPad in any country in the world. Check out the T-Mobile provider name on my iPad.

  • Deelip, I’ve did the cutting myself. Just some good scissors, a cutter blade and an example found on the web.

  • Hawkins Tom20

    But you guys are cheating AT&T! You’re using your creativity to circumvent the established profit-making rules, which are just a few million dollars’ worth of lobbyist lunches away from being law! Which would then make your activities illegal! Just like selling used versions of AutoCAD R14! Just because somebody made it into a law doesn’t make it right! Those with the gold make the rules!

  • Deelip-

    Brilliant!

    Devon Sowell

  • Rob Rodriguez

    Nice. This whole phone / i-pad is specific to the carrier in the USA is crap. Kind of defeats the free market system I think. I agree with Hawkins Tom20, lots of goverment officials lining their pockets with cash on these kind of rules.

  • In India, the iPhone is locked to a service provider which does not happen to me mine. Even if it was I wouldn’t buy a locked iPhone. That’s why when I visited Belgium I bought an unlocked iPhone there since that country has a law that prohibits phone locking.

    • Nainar

      That is the case.I bought a iPhone tied to Airtel but could not use it with Singtel!The iPhone4 i bought in Spore is not locked.It is illegal to sell locked phones in Spore.So it is the case of lobbying in the home if the free that locking is legal.

  • Anonymous

    I second Devon. Brilliant!

  • Tony

    Deelip,
    What kind of speeds are you getting? In the US, the two GSM carriers use different frequencies for 3G (1700MHz for T-Mo, 2100MHz for AT&T if I recall correctly), so unless the iPad 3G supports T-Mo 3G, you are restricted to EDGE (which sucks — I have a T-Mo WebConnect Jet, which I’m very happy with — except when it connects at EDGE speeds, then it’s like I’m back to the days of dialup).

    Another approach is to get a MiFi unit (3G in, WiFi out). For example, Virgin Mobile has one for $150, with $40/month unlimited prepaid access (a great deal if you’re in the US; it uses Sprint’s network, so it’s not usable outside the US). If I move out of T-Mo’s HSPA coverage area, I’ll switch to Virgin Mobile.

    • Nainar

      Yeah,I did see a device in Singapore, the size of a small optical mouse, that takes a SIM Card and sends out a WiFi signal.Very handy, slip in the SIM Card, keep it in your laptop bag and you can browse using your computer, iPhone,iPad … iPhone4 has something else! Personal hotspot! Get an iPhone4, slip in a SIM card and you are good to browse through Personal WiFi.

  • I get EDGE with T-Mobile, which is perfectly all right for me. All I need to do is check my email while I am traveling. As I type this I am seated at the Denver airport and there is no free Wifi where I am. I am posting this comment using the unlimited data plan of my
    T-Mobile sim card.

  • Well!, good news for me,
    thanks!