Using an iPad Abroad

When Steve Jobs from Apple, you might have heard of him, first announced the iPad I, along with many others, applauded a new approach to getting connected to the Internet and email without the extortionate costs usually involved with data roaming.

The idea is simple, microsim cards to get 3G on your iPad would be done on a month by month basis, that’s right no contract. At any point you could cancel your subscription for that month and then reactivate it at any time, all from your iPad. In case you are wondering, when you cancel your subscription it keeps working up to the end of the month that you paid up to.

Sounds good. So the next time you go on holiday or business overseas, you cancel your subscription at home, assuming you have one, as you don’t need a subscription just because you have a 3G iPad, then when you arrive in your destination pick up a microsim card for the iPad from a provider who stocks them, say AT&T if you are visiting the USA. However, this was not as easy as it sounds.

My first stumbling block was getting a microsim card, not so difficult in the UK just go to one of the providers like O2, Vodafone, Orange or Three, more on this in a minute as there is an issue in the UK too. I went to five AT&T stores in Orlando and they had no idea what I was talking about. I was happy to pay the $14.99 for the microsim card and then it turns out if I could get one, at least another $14.99 for a data plan, when I asked O2 in the UK they gave me the microsim for nothing, I believe the others in the UK will do the same.

Anyway I had an idea, the microsim card for the iPhone 4 from AT&T is the same size and free, you don’t have to pay the up front $14.99. So I got one, they were only too happy to give it to me and these seem to be readily available at the AT&T stores. Next thing was to get a data plan. I didn’t need much so the lowest priced plan of $14.99 would work for me. To get a data plan on the iPad you sign up on the iPad, all you need is a credit card. Errr, it turns out it has to be a local credit card with an address in the USA. How ridiculous bit turns out it is the same in the UK. Three in the UK allow you to pay in cash, debit or credit card over the counter so no problem there.

So how was I going to get around the credit card problem. Well thankfully there are prepaid credit cards readily available from many retail shops in the USA. I got one from Best Buy, preloaded it with some credit when I bought the card in the shop. Got back to the hotel, registered the card with an address, I used the hotels address. Waited a short while, which I was told to do so that the address filtered through and then used this prepaid credit card to purchase my data plan for the iPad.

I feel out of breath, I did at the time it was a lot of running around. You think this would have been easier, anyway here is the work around and you won’t need to do the running around that I had to do to find out how to get this working.

To see the podcast on this episode click on this link http://www.jargonfreehelp.com/episode.asp?video_id=ipad_abroad

Please let me know of your experiences good or bad.

Don’t forget to visit my website for more podcasts and tutorials, don’t forget Jargon Free Help is more than just technology.

Gary

About garysch

A bit of a techno nut who likes sharing what I know about technology, especially with those who struggle with it. Also through my podcast www.jargonfreehelp.com
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