Review by djrobx
Good "LTE works great where deployed. iPad 3 plan includes tethering/hotspot"
- Location: Valencia,Los Angeles,CA
- Cost: $30 per month
- Install: about 1 days
Bad "Initial activation problems. Disorganized support, slow 3G"
Overall "Despite their shortcomings, happy I selected them over AT&T for my iPad"
|Pre Sales Information:|
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)
I've held out on purchasing an iPad for a long time. It was a luxury I could never fully justify while having laptop. I'm traveling more these days, and am increasingly finding myself without acceptable internet access. I have an AT&T iPhone; AT&T will not allow me to tether without losing my unlimited plan, even if I wanted to pay for it.
Enter Verizon's decision to enable the new LTE iPad's hotspot free of charge. Now I can enjoy the iPad, but also use it if I need connectivity on my laptop. Now I can just pay Verizon for mobile data when I need it, no matter which device I want to use it on. That's how it should be!
I was also excited to try out Verizon's LTE network that so many have waxed poetic about. I've seen speed tests return as fast as 24mbps down and 15 up! The LTE coverage was amazing on my trip to Oregon. I was covered all the way from the airport into the suburb of Hillsboro, even through a forrest back-road. Unfortunately coverage is not so great back at home. I'm in a very large suburb of Los Angeles with no LTE support. Verizon's 3G absolutely crawls at times, and the signal coverage isn't as good as AT&T's either. I don't expect to use mobile broadband much when I'm near home, but I can't help but wonder how Verizon decides what areas they're going to upgrade. I'm sure it will come soon, they're clearly working very hard on their new network.
While Verizon seems to be aggressive at building advanced networks, they need to take a harder look at their customer experience. It was easy to order service through the iPad device itself, but after my credit card was charged, the data simply stopped working with "Could not activate cellular network". I called into tech support. The agent was pleasant and polite, but had no idea what to do other than walking me through resetting the iPad's network settings (things I'd already tried). He tried to blame it on outages and signal levels, fortunately I was with another friend who also had a Verizon iPad that was working fine to rule that out. He said he'd create a trouble ticket and would call me back to update me with the status. I never got a callback, but it did start working after a few hours.
I later had some trouble accessing my online account. It claimed I was not the "account master" but that my account had no master assigned, and to "click here" to set myself as the master. "Clicking here" took me to a 404 Page Not Found. Called support. Entering my data number transferred me directly to sales. Sales transfers me to tech support, which, after holding, says "You are calling regarding a pre-paid account. Please hang up and call the appropriate department". A major national phone company can't just transfer me to the right place and has to hang up on me? REALLY? I call back, and after waiting on hold for a while, get sales again, who finally transfers me to the right place. That person resets my online account but we got disconnected. He didn't try to contact me, but it worked, so I was just glad to be done with this dumb issue. I used to think AT&T was pretty bad, but in terms of customer service, they're like a well oiled machine compared to this mess.
Overall I'm happy with my choice. After having a taste of their LTE network and how well it can work, I think it will outweigh the pains of dealing with their phone support. It would be nice to get more than 2gb for $30, but it's enough for my purposes.
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