Australian iPad data plans compared: which should you choose ?


    The battle is certainly on for iPad customers. Vodafone and 3 have announced their data plans today, while Optus and Telstra revealed theirs weeks ago. So with so many options, which should you choose ?

    It’s important to remember Apple’s iPad is not 900MHz compatible, which means that in areas covered by this spectrum, your speeds will drop, dramatically (3G to 2G if you like). Coverage is definitely a key consideration when choosing your provider, being connected while away from home is after all the reason you’d opt for the 3G version of the iPad in the first place. The 3G + WiFi model comes at a higher cost, so you’d want to make sure that pays off in being connected more often. It’s not enough that your just connected, rather that your connected at a speed fast enough to allow data-rich applications function correctly.

    The sad truth is the current situation in Australia is that Telstra has the best coverage, but they do charge premiums for it. Optus is investing heavily in catching up in coverage, while the success of the iPhone and high data usage has meant metro areas suffer from issues. The other two providers Voda and 3 try to catch up with partnering deals, but have to offer lower cost deals to compensate for less coverage.

    Telstra iPad pre-paid plans [more info]

    1GB $20
    3GB $30
    6GB $60

    Notes: Unused data expires after 30 days.

    Optus iPad pre-paid / post-paid plans [more info]

    Data Cost Expiry
    2GB $30 Starter Kit 30 days
    500MB $15 15 days
    1GB $20 15 days
    3GB $30 30 days
    4GB $40 30 days
    5GB $50 30 days
    9GB $70 60 days
    8GB $80 186 days
    12GB $100 60 days
    14GB $130 60 days

    Data Cost
    2GB $20 per month
    3GB $30 per month
    8GB $60 per month

    Three iPad pre-paid /post-paid plans [more info]

    500MB $15
    2GB $29
    4GB $49
    12GB $149

    1GB $15 per month
    3GB $29 per month

    Vodafone iPad pre-paid plans [more info]

    Data Cost Expiry
    250MB $9.95 30 days
    1GB $14.95 30 days
    4GB $29.95 30 days
    Unlimited $49.95 30 days
    6GB $100 180 days
    12GB $150 365 days

    Notes: Unused data will rollover if recharged before the 30 days expire.

    Which deal is best for you ?
    The answer to this question is very location specific. If you only intend on using your iPad in a major city, coverage isn’t really a concern, if you want to use it while travelling, then check coverage maps. As for the amount of data you’ll need, it’s to remember that both uploading and downloading data counts as data usage.

    Light users
    1GB for $14.95 on Vodafone is great value for money. Whilst certainly not the cheapest entry point, I think 1GB should be plenty of data for mos
    t users. the 250MB Vodafone plan is only a quarter of the data, but only saves $5 a month.

    Medium users
    The entry level 3GB for $30 plan on Optus is a nice mid-point.

    Heavy users
    If your want Unlimited data use, Vodafone’s unlimited $49.95 plan is what you want.

    If you haven’t selected your iPad 3G+Wifi model yet, check that out at the Apple site.

    iPad 3G

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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