I’ve wanted an iPad ever since the day Steve unleashed them on the unsuspecting tech world, but I’ve never been able to justify the cost for what is – essentially – a luxury gadget.
When the “New iPad” showed its face a couple of months back, my Apple-loving associate Olitee decided to upgrade his first-gen iPad to the new one, and I, in turn, bought his old one off him for a bargain price. Admittedly it doesn’t have a pretty Retina display or an all-powerful A5X chip but to all intents and purposes it does what I need it to.
More interestingly though – and here I am, finally getting to the point – because it is a 3G iPad I’ve been exploring my options with regards to pay-as-you-go data plans for it. The cheapest and most flexible plan turned out to be with GiffGaff, a SIM-only internet-based company who offer both mobile phone and mobile data tariffs. They send the SIM out to you for free, and once you’ve got it you can activate it via their website and top it up with your choice of minutes, texts and/or data.
For the iPad, they do plans ranging for £5 for 500MB through to £12.50 for 3GB. Each of these amounts will last for 30 days, and you can choose to buy another 30 days’ worth at any point. Ideal for me, as most of the time I’ll be just using wifi, but if I ever need to I can buy one of these bundles and off we go.
The only small complication is that GiffGaff only offer regular-sized SIM cards, and as you probably know the iPhone and iPad use MicroSIMs. No problem though, because GiffGaff supply a downloadable template for you to print out and use to trim the SIM down with scissors or a craft knife – and it’s surprisingly easy to do!
Once the SIM is cut down to size and in the iPad, you have to input the APN settings manually, but again this is very easy. Go to “Settings -> Cellular Data -> APN Settings” and then put the following in:
Once you’ve done all this, turn off the iPad completely and turn it back on again. Hey presto, you have yourself 3G mobile data! Do be aware that if you go to the “View Account” option in the Cellular Data settings, it will show an O2 logo and report “Device not recognised – This iPad has not been registered properly on our systems”. Don’t panic – nothing is wrong, it’s simply because GiffGaff utilises the O2 network.
If you’re considering signing up with GiffGaff – either for a phone or data plan – then click here to order your SIM and we’ll both get a free £5 top-up when you activate your account.