Apple gives iPad Pro a 5G option, though carrier plans will cost you
Faster cellular connectivity will be an option for Apple's latest iPad Pros.
Eli BlumenthalSenior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
Expertise5G, mobile networks, wireless carriers, phones, tablets, streaming devices, streaming platforms, mobile and console gaming,
new iPad Pros are joining the company's portfolio of
products. After the company made a big splash around 5G during its iPhone 12 event last year, on Tuesday Apple announced that the new cellular option will be available on its latest high-end iPads.
All iPads since the original's introduction in 2010 have included an option for cellular connectivity, usually a $130-$150 premium compared to the standard Wi-Fi-only pricing. Apple will be charging $200 more for the 5G-capable iPad Pro, but as with other connected tablets, you will still need to pay extra for service from wireless carriers
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Pricing for wireless plans varies at each carrier, but for tablets, traditionally it has not been cheap.
If you have an AT&T unlimited plan, you can add a tablet for $20 a month. Without unlimited, the carrier charges $50 a month for 15GB of tablet data on its Data Connect plan, or $75 a month for 35GB (both with a $10 discount for AutoPay and paperless billing). Going over your data will cost you $10 for every 2GB of data of additional data.
Verizon has a few different options. The nation's largest carrier charges $20 per month if you already have an unlimited wireless plan with them for unlimited
and low-band 5G access, but if you want access to its fastest 5G flavors you'll need to shell out $30 per month for its "Unlimited Plus" offering.
If your account has a Do More or Get More unlimited plan, you can lower that by 50% a month. No phone service with Verizon? An unlimited tablet data plan runs $75 per month with the AutoPay and paperless billing discounts or $80 without. The Unlimited Plus option runs $85 with AutoPay and paperless billing or $90 without.
Verizon's shared data plans allow you to add a tablet for $10 a month, but those plans cannot access its faster flavors of 5G and are limited just to its 4G LTE and low-band 5G networks.
T-Mobile used to offer a free 200MB of data per month for tablets on its network, but discontinued the offer in 2017. That said, it still has the most affordable and widest range of tablet data plans with the cheapest running $5 per month for 500MB of high-speed data so long as you have one of its Magenta plans for phone service (Essentials, Magenta regular, Plus or Max). Spending $20 per month will get you unlimited tablet data over 4G LTE or 5G with AutoPay enabled.
Most of those Magenta plans will allow for up to 50GB of data use before risking having your data slowed by the carrier for "data prioritization." If you have the carrier's recently announced Magenta Max plan for your phone, you won't need to worry about that 50GB threshold for your tablet.
If you don't have T-Mobile wireless service, the pricing rises by $40 per month so the 500MB plan is $45 while the unlimited option is $60 per month (both with AutoPay).