Are you looking for the best plan for your tablet? You should know how hard it is to find a reliable and affordable mobile internet plan especially if you’re one of the 45 percent of Americans who use these handy portable devices.
Tablets are great for working and playing on the go, and the market has become more diverse over the last few years. Having a variety of options to suit your needs and your budget is always good news.
The wireless industry has undergone a lot of change over the past few years. I’m going to show you how those changes are to your benefit when shopping for a data-only tablet or iPhone plan.
The Popular Tablet Plans
Postpaid Tablet Plans
T-Mobile offers postpaid data service only through its unlimited data plan, T-Mobile One. It means that you will need to subscribe to the mobile phone service via T-Mobile One for $ 75 per month, then add a data plan for your tablet for $20 per month.
Prepaid tablet Plans
Data expires after one month unless otherwise noted. Tablet plans payable at the use
If you are not a big user of data but still want to use your device where Wi-Fi is not available, these pay-per-view plans are quite sensible.
Charge and Project Fi charge a single fee for their data, while Ting charges based on usage. At low levels of 2 GB or less, these plans may be more cost-effective than traditional offerings
Ting charges its customer’s voice, text, and data in separate levels. It means that if you want to use Ting as a data plan only, you must treat it as such.
The levels are listed in detail here, but for a rough idea, 1 GB is $ 16, 2 GB is $ 20, then each gigabyte is $ 10 each.
Google’s wireless service offers a free SIM card for cell-only data – no chat or texting – and $ 10 per gigabyte data downloads.
However, this option containing only data makes no sense unless you are already on Project Fi. You can get a SIM card-carrying data only if you subscribe to a standard Project Fi cellular plan, which is $ 20 per month, plus the cost of data transmission.
Key Considerations When Choosing a Tablet Plan
Here are some basics to consider before you decide on the right tablet data plan for you:
1. Where will I be using my device and for what?
Are you typically around WiFi when you use your tablet or is most of your use on the road? If you have frequent access to a WiFi network then you don’t need to pay for a large data bucket.
What do you do on your device? Activities like HD video streaming or video calling using Facetime HD require a lot more data than say, email or instant messaging.
2. How much data do I need?
You may not need as much data as you think. Wireless carriers do a good job of convincing us that unlimited data plans are a necessity. In reality, most people don’t need endless amounts.
Use our handy data usage calculator to determine your actual needs. This way you can choose a plan that allows you to only pay for what you actually use. Think of it like cable TV – why pay for 300 channels when you only watch five?
3. Can I use my phone as a mobile hotspot?
Some carriers may enable you to use your cell phone as a mobile hotspot (or you can simply purchase a mobile hotspot). This option will allow you to share data from your cell phone with your tablet on the go.
Keep in mind that not all carriers let you share data this way, so be sure to read the fine print.
4. Does every tablet work with a data plan?
If you’re shopping for a tablet keep in mind that many devices only function via WiFi and do not work with tablet data plans. Just as you assess features like internal storage, Retina display, and whether the device has a dual-core or quad-core processor, you should ensure you’ll have 4G LTE connectivity.
This holds true not only for Android but for Apple products as well. You can choose a device that’s compatible with iPad plans or with WiFi only.
5. How is the network coverage where you live or travel?
While the four major wireless networks are very similar in terms of coverage, there are small differences that could impact your service depending on where you are.
Use our cell coverage maps to determine who has the best service in the areas where you live or frequently travel.
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MVNOs Offer Big Coverage at Small Prices
Mobile Virtual Network Operators – MVNOs – are smaller wireless carriers that offer discounted service on the major networks.
Benefits of MVNOs include:
- Nationwide 4G LTE coverage on the big four cellular networks
- Cheaper prices because MVNOs have lower overhead than the big guys
- Custom plans so you only pay for what you need
- No contracts, credit checks or overage charges
- Simple online sign-up process
- High customer support ratings
Best Cheap Prepaid Tablet Plan: Tello
If you mostly use your iPad or Android tablet when connected to Wifi but still want access on the go, Tello tablet plans are a great deal. You can buy as little as 500 MB of data and you can add more any time you need to.
Tello uses Sprint so you’ll have the best luck with their cheap tablet plans if you have a Sprint device.
Best Unlimited Tablet Data Plan: Tello
We also like Tello for moderate use. If you spend some of your tablet time on WiFi and some on the go, Tello tablet and iPad plans are a very affordable option.
Advantages of Bringing Your Own Device
Tablets and iPads can cost up to $1,000. The most economical choice is to bring your own device to your new carrier. Benefits of keeping your own tablet include:
- Avoiding monthly device payments or a large upfront outlay
- Getting the most out of your tablet’s lifespan instead of creating more e-waste
- Keeping all of your data like photos and passwords rather than having to transfer everything to a new device
If you bring your Apple iPad or Android tablet to a new carrier you’ll need to make sure that it’s unlocked from your current carrier.
There are plenty of options when it comes to finding the right data-only tablet plan. Not only that but the same carriers that bring you great prices on data plans also offer prepaid cell phone plans at amazing rates.
Calculate your data needs, decide which network is best for you, then enjoy your savings!
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