Which Company Has the Best iPad Data Plans?

A man uses the new Apple Pencil on an iPad Pro after an Apple special event at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium September 9, 2015
iPad Pro. Stephen Lam/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Every iPad can connect to Wi-Fi networks in order to get online, but only some models can access 3G and 4G LTE cellular networks provided by phone companies like AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. These networks are the same ones that your iPhone uses.

Just like when choosing the phone company you want to use with your phone, there are a lot of choices when researching the best monthly iPad data plan.

Luckily, these plans are a little simpler than phone plans: just figure out how much data you need and you're basically done.

Which company offers the best iPad data plan for you depends on your needs. To make the best choice, here's a comparison of data plans offered by the four major phone companies.

iPad Data Plans from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon

Monthly DataAT&TSprintT-MobileVerizon
250 MB$14.99   
1 GB    
2 GB   $20
3 GB$30   
4 GB   $30
5 GB$50   
6 GB   $40
7 GB    
8 GB    $50
9 GB     
10 GB    $60
11 GB     
12 GB    $70
14 GB    $80
16 GB    $90
18 GB    $100
20 GB    $110
30 GB    $185
40 GB    $260
50 GB    $335
60 GB    $410
80 GB    $560
100 GB    $710
Unlimited $30$70 
     
Overages    
250MB plan$14.99/
250 MB
   
Other plans$10/
1 GB
  $15/
1 GB
     
Monthly Device Charge    
    $10
     
Monthly Price for 3 GB or 4 GB$30$30$70$40

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These prices don't include taxes and fees

Ways to Save: Contracts

There's not much way to save on the price of a monthly plan.

The prices are basically the prices. One possible way to save is to switch from another provider. In that case, your new phone company might have a promotional deal that offers a limited-time discount on your monthly fees.

One other option is if your employer has a corporate or group discount with one of the carriers.

 

You can get a deal on the iPad itself, though. That's because phone companies discount the price of the iPad if you sign a two-year contract, just like when you buy an iPhone. Signing that contract does lock you into 24 months of payments, but it can save you a bunch, too.

For instance, Verizon charges $779 for an iPad Pro with no contract but cuts that price to $679 with a contract. If you're sure you'll be keeping 24 months of data service on your iPad, a contract can save you big money. Just be sure to keep an eye out for Early Termination Fees (ETFs) that penalize you for canceling before your contract is up.

Ways to Save: Shared Data Plans

The prices listed above are for iPad-only data plans, but if you've already got at least one smartphone (any kind; it doesn't have to be an iPhone) with a phone company, check out their shared data plans. Those plans often offer a better deal for multiple devices.

For instance, AT&T's Mobile Share Plan offers between 300 MB and 50 GB of data to split between all devices on your plan each month. If you've already got a smartphone data plan, you can probably add your tablet to it for just the per-device fee (with AT&T, that's $10/month).

The monthly charge for the device will almost always be less than the tablet data plan.

As long as you don't go over your monthly data limit, you'll save money.