3G prepaid internet on Ipad Mini

23 Feb 2013
Posted by Laptop Junction

The Ipad Mini 3G can connect to the internet using cellular mobile networks. This is by far the best way to be connected most of the time. However for those traveling cross borders, local prepaid 3G data plans keep internet costs affordable. But with an Ipad there’s a big catch for now – read on.

Ipad Mini 3G cellular modem

A first look at the Ipad range with 3G cellular modems looks quite promising. One can connect to the internet using the nanosim card. (pictured to the left, the right the standard sim card)

3G prepaid internet on the Ipad Mini

It all seems the same as 3G USB internet modems / sticks available for laptops and netbooks. They have all hardware to connect to cellular networks, but can't make voice calls.

Wrong! The iPad range is different....

Ipad's can not Send or Receive SMS text messages  although it has cellular hardware on board to do so.

Also the operating system  iOS 6.1 and  iOS7.0 on an iPad doesn't have a SMS text messaging implementation.

For those familiar with prepaid 3G internet data plans already see what’s coming. 

NEW - Secure VPN encrypted WIFI on your iPad Mini

Ipad Mini 3G prepaid internet on the go

Anyone who used local 3G prepaid internet plans knows the importance of SMS text messaging. SMS text messages are used to top-up prepaid balance by sending a code from a prepaid scratch card.

Next to this SMS Text messaging is used to  receive the online user account password or be warned about a prepaid balance running out.  Here's a prepaid scratch card from Greece for adding balance by SMS text message;

Prepaid cards to top up your balance by SMS Text messaging
Ipad Mini - SMS Text message to top-up your balance Ipad Mini SMS Text messaging not possible

Without being able to receive SMS text messages with the iPad most local prepaid 3G internet plans available round the world are useless on the Ipad (Mini).

The issue is shipped to Apple Customer Support and a prepaid cellular network provider (T-Mobile) - and waiting for a (disappointing) answer. And the answer didn't came at all, even after several attempts.

But there's a solution, read on.


iPad complaints - where are they?

So why isn't there a massive outcry and avalanche of complaints about the iPad not having SMS Text messaging?  A few reasons;

  1. Most people buy the iPad with WIFI modem, not the cellular 3G modem
  2. Those with an iPad cellular modem have a cellular data contract included (not a prepaid dataplan)
  3. The iPad isn't used that much by die-hard travelers, netbook or laptops are preferred 

A small(er) group of people travel with an iPad with Cellular modem and try to connect to the internet using prepaid 3G data plans. Most complaints can be found on the Apple Support forum - search for "iPad send SMS"

Ipad - How to Send SMS Text Message

Next to all this - the iMessage implementation is confusing because the phrase "Text Messaging" is also used for Instant Messaging (IM) known when using chat applications like Yahoo or MSN messenger. And those who look for the issue find many speaking about the iMessage implementation on the iPhone where SMS text messaging DOES WORK as expected.

The smaller iPad Mini is great for travel in 2 ways - it's small and the iPad Mini energy use is very low. Most likely complaints will definitely grow.

The work around to read SMS text messages is a nano simcard adapter for a cellphone, read about it here: nanosim card adapter for the iPad mini

Ipad Mini 3G prepay information

A few examples of prepaid plans depending on SMS Text messaging;

3G prepaid internet in Greece
3G prepaid internet in Portugal
3G prepaid internet in Spain

In France the network carrier SFR has created a prepaid 3G data plan specially for the iPad.  It works without SMS text messaging.

Read about the nanosim card adapter for the iPad mini

Read more at the Apple Support Forum