As a consequence of the nightmare I’ve had with Vodafone trying to contract an iPad data plan, I happened to discover a more attractive alternative — the iPad pre-paid card from Orange.
Cellular internet access is enabled (and disabled) via the Cellular Data setting, within the General Preference. When enabled, the pre-paid card provides 3G access to the internet for 3.50€ per natural-day, charged against your pre-filled account balance.
For example, if I enable Cellular Data at 6 pm, I’ll have 3G internet access for 3.50€ until midnight, after which the next natural-day period starts (and another 3.50€ charged).
The pre-paid has proven attractive for a number of reasons:
- As I’ve discovered, I’m nearly always on Wifi when using the iPad, and rarely need the 3G connectivity — and so, for me, the prepaid option is far more economical than Vodafone’s 37€ per month contracted service.
I like the full control I have over the spending — no more erroneous charges that require me to spend hours on a low-quality VOIP connection to an outsourced call center in South America to get resolved.
Recharging the card is easy — I can do it at any ATM machine, online at the Orange website, or even at the local grocery store.
p>But there’s one problem, and it’s a big one:
It’s easy to forget to turn the data connection back off when I’m finished with the iPad. This happened once to me, and within a matter of days, I’d unknowingly consumed my entire pre-paid balance.
Apple could solve this problem by adding an optional auto-disable setting to the Cellular Data preference. I’d implement such a setting like this.
(If I can get this article fireballed, perhaps it’ll get noticed by someone at Apple. In anticipation, wp-cache is enabled… 🙂