Help with iPad

Hi all, I was planning on taking my iPad this October with me to London as well as Bath and Edinburgh. It's a WiFI one with AT & T and I assume would cost me a fortune to use with AT & T service. I'm not that tech savvy and was wondering if anyone has ever bought a SIM card in the UK to use over there for WiFi connection. I know that you won't need a SIM card for free WiFi and that many places have free WiFi but since we'll be using the iPad for information collection, GPS, directions, reviews and other recommendations on the fly, it would be ideal to have this service. Can I buy a plan for my iPAD over there like here in the states without switching out the SIM card? I've heard carphone is good place to purchase SIM cards but how about for iPads? ANY suggestions or recommendations would help as it's obvious that I'm quite confused! Thanks.

Posted by richard
Yorkshire
429 posts

You might want to post model .
I believe some ipads are wifi only...so the option of getting a SIM to obtain a 3g DATA connection might not he there.

Posted by bongo
Mill Valley
7 posts

I have an iPad 2. Thanks for the input so far. Does anyone have experience with carphone in London or Edinburgh?

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
12331 posts

The lebara sim pushed in the previous reply is good for some people, particularly those wanting to phone to certain countries from which there are many immigrants to the UK.

A lot will depend on the coverage of the provider in the areas where you will be, and coverage maps can help determine that.

You might find that you prefer Three on one of their data only plans which can be quite generous, and can be as little as £10 for a gig.

I wouldn't be tempted by free sims. Those which are not free are often £00.05, £1.00, or £00.99; none of which will break the bank.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
12331 posts

If you use a British data provider, you will need to insert the sim. OR have the dude or dudette behind the shiny counter insert it for you.

I have bought a number of things from Carphone Warehouse, including my current iPhone 4S.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
12331 posts

Pretty much every Carphone Warehouse branch will be pretty much the same as others - some are bigger and some are smaller but they all work out of the same catalog which you can access from home using their website.

Posted by bongo
Mill Valley
7 posts

Thanks Nigel. I appreciate the help. I'm really looking the very least expensive option so I can feel pretty free to use the internet whenever the mood strikes me. I'm also totally clueless about how often I'll need access which may mean that I will just wait till I get to Edinburgh and see how much and widespread the free WiFi is and make a decision then. After that, it's London and so I'll have to make another assessment and see if I visit Carphone and get help from the dudes or dudettes there. Does that sound reasonable to you?

Posted by Judy
Brunswick Maine
4 posts

I've been researching this same question and talked with AT&T. Assuming you already have a data plan (i.e., 3G or 4G), they have several international data plans that you can add on to your current plan. The cheapest is $30 for one month for 120MB of data. Just google AT&T international plans for more information.

Posted by Judy
Brunswick Maine
4 posts

You say you have an iPad 2. You need to know if it is Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi and cellular. If it has cellular, you can work with your cellular provider to get temporary international data.

Posted by bongo
Mill Valley
7 posts

Thanks Judy,
I'm afraid I'm on a rather tight budget and not sure if getting AT & T international would be cost effective versus a local service. In the past I've racked up hundreds in dollars using AT & T international after going to an AT & T store and getting them to set it up at what they claimed would be the most economical way. NOT! Don't want to or can afford to do that mistake again.

Posted by bongo
Mill Valley
7 posts

Sorry Judy, you asked whether I have wifi or wifi and cellular. I have the latter with AT&T but have an old iPad that just has wifi. Will probably take the newer iPad 2 with AT&T cellular with me on this trip.

Posted by Lee
Dallas
1017 posts

Three had the best deal on a prepaid data sim for my ipad2 in 2012 and 2013. It cost about £11 for 1gig of data. I haven't researched this year since I didn't go this year. The guys in the Three store changed out the sim for me and showed me how to put the ATT sim back in after the trip. Here's the link Three
Carphone Warehouse stores probably have deals about as good.

Posted by Tara
Sarasota
148 posts

I thought it had to be unlocked first to use a local sim? Will Three unlock it, too?

Otherwise, I've had lots of success using a mifi from Cellomobile. A mifi is about the size of a deck of cards, maybe a bit smaller. You rent it for the time you'll be away, turn it on when you get to the country, and use it to access local carriers. You then connect up to 5 devices at a time to it for access to wifi. I liked it for walking around Paris so that I could use google maps while I walked to figure out where I was.

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
8638 posts

I think you've got what you need, above. At first, I though you would use GPS for driving, but if you're mostly in big cities, Wi-Fi is pretty widely available in coffee shops. Starbucks, Costa, and Pret a Manger are a few cafe chains that are easy to find all over. Personally, I don't want to carry my iPad 2 for 12 hours a day, which is probably how long I'll be out in any big city, so I do most of my web research at the hotel.

Posted by John
Canton
153 posts

To clarify: does your iPad have a visible sim slot? I have a second generation iPad that I thought was an iPad 2. It is wi-fi plus Verizon mobile. As we prepare for our UK trip I noticed that my iPad does not have a sim slot while my wife's iPad Air does. If we take both, I will get a sim for hers and use mine strictly on wi-fi.