Apple's iPad 3, expected within weeks, will sport high-speed wireless radios that work on AT&T and Verizon networks, according to the Wall Street Journal.
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The iPad 3 is expected to support the LTE 4G networks of both AT&T and Verizon Wireless, reports the Wall Street Journal. It says that the nation's two largest network operators will sell the device, which will be able to surf the Internet at 4G speeds. In addition to 4G, the new tablet will also have support for the older 3G networks.
Right now, AT&T and Verizon Wireless are the only network operators that sell the iPad 2. There is one version for AT&T's HSPA+ network and a separate version for Verizon's CDMA-EVDO network. The Journal doesn't say if the new iPad will come in network-specific variants or if Apple will create one tablet that can run on all the networks.
The iPhone 4S, for example, has built-in support for the HSPA+ network used by AT&T in the United States (and hundreds of operators around the world), in addition to support for the CDMA networks of Sprint and Verizon. Adding support for LTE 4G for both AT&T and Verizon in a single device would be quite an engineering feat, but tablets have the inner space to accommodate the necessary radios. (Personally, my money would be on the chance of two separate models.)
According to the Journal, it is unknown if Sprint and T-Mobile will get their own iPad 3s to sell. It won't be too surprising if they don't, though an iPad built to work on Verizon's 3G network could technically also work on Sprint's 3G network. The chances that Apple will add WiMax to the iPad 3 for Sprint are about nil. Support for T-Mobile's HSPA+ network, which uses a different frequency than AT&T's, is highly unlikely as well.
At the moment, Verizon's LTE network is live in 200 markets around the United States and covers approximately 190 million people. Verizon is still expanding its 4G footprint, and expects to have much of the country covered by 2013. Its LTE network offers download speeds between 5 Mbps and 12 Mbps, and uploads of 2 Mbps to 5 Mbps.
AT&T's LTE network is younger and smaller than Verizon's. It is live in about a dozen markets and covers about 90 million people. AT&T, too, is in the middle of building its LTE network and has a lot of catching up to do. AT&T's LTE 4G speeds are similar to those offered by Verizon.
If you're interested in an LTE 4G iPad 3, prepare to pay for it. Apple has consistently charged $130 more for cellular-equipped iPads when compared to the Wi-Fi-only models. Whether or not AT&T or Verizon will offer the iPad 3 at a reduced price with a contract is unknown, but not probable. Both Verizon and AT&T offer month-to-month data options for devices such as tablets, but offerings for the iPad 3 have not been announced.
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