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Jun 5 2010   11:49AM GMT

If You Have an iPad 3G, Sign Up for Unlimited Service NOW

Ed Hardy Ed Hardy Profile: Ed Hardy

AT&T announced this week that it is phasing out one of the best features of the iPad 3G: the carrier is ending the unlimited data option for this tablet computer.

Apple iPadStarting on Monday, you will no longer be able to pay $30 a month for unlimited service. Instead, your best option will be $25 a month for 2 GB a month of data, a considerable downgrade.

But there’s a small bit of good news: if you sign up for unlimited data today or tomorrow, you’ll be “grandfathered” in, and will get to stay with the better plan even after Monday.

The downside is if you ever drop your unlimited plan, you won’t be able to get it back.

Is This Deal for You?
If you’re planning on using AT&T’s 3G service as your primary way of accessing the Web, email, and video on your iPad, and you use your iPad a lot, you are probably going to need more than 2 GB a month of data.

In my tests, 2 GB goes a long way, but if you’re a heavy user, you’re probably going to run out before the end of the month.

On the other hand, if you usually connect to Wi-Fi and only occasionally use 3G, you’ll get along fine with the new plan. This is especially true if you only plan to use 3G service for the occasional weekend getaway. You’d be hard pressed to use up 2 GB of data on your iPad in just a few days.

If you decide you want to get the unlimited plan, just go to the Settings app on the iPad and select Cellular Data. Choose the plan you want, enter your personal information and a credit card number, and you’re ready to go.

No Tethering… Yet
AT&T also announced this week that it will soon allow iPhone users to use their smartphone as a modem for another computer, like a laptop. However, this doesn’t include the iPad.

Still, this might change at some point. AT&T isn’t blocking this feature, tethering just isn’t part of the system software for Apple’s tablet computer. If Apple added tethering support to the iPad — and you are willing to pay a $20 a month fee — you’ll be able to share your iPhone’s Internet connection with your iPad.

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