3G Roaming Ripoffs Follow Apple iPad on its World Tour

For example, Orange U.K. has a £2 ($3.50) one-day pass and a £7.50 ($11) one-week pass with 200MB and 2GB data usage limits (use outside the U.K., even to other Orange countries, costs £3, or $4.50, per megabyte). O2 U.K. also has a £2 one-day pass with a 500MB limit. Orange offers similar options for its divisions in France, Spain, and Switzerland. In France, SFR offers a one-day pass for €6 ($7.50) with a 75MB limit, for use just in France, as well as a 250MB plan for €15 ($19) good for the current month. You do have to buy a €10 ($12.50) 3G connection kit from SFR first, which comes with a three-day pass and 75MB limit, but SFR allows you to buy more data access directly from your iPad via its Web site.

In Canada, Rogers offers several tiers of data access, available both as prepaid and monthly contracts: C$30 for 500MB, C$35 for 1GB, C$50 for 2GB, and C$65 for 5GB. And in Japan, you can buy a pass from Softbank for ¥4,400 ($48) that is good for a month or 1GB of usage, whichever occurs first.

Foreigners who come to the United States aren't so lucky. AT&T so far is not making its MicroSIMs available for foreign visitors, so they can't sign up for one of AT&T's two plans ($15 for 250MB and $30 for unlimited usage, both for within the month the plan is purchased).

As is usually the case when it comes to dealing with telecom carriers, it's easy to get ripped off if you don't pay close attention. Fortunately, the iPad's removable MicroSIM means you can switch from one carrier to another as you travel, once you find an outlet for a MicroSIM where you're traveling and can figure out if there's an appropriate plan for your travel duration.

Just be sure to label the MicroSIMs somehow, such as with colored dots, if you travel a lot. Otherwise, you might accidentally use the wrong MicroSIM in a particular country and end up paying huge roaming fees you were trying to avoid in the first place!

This article, "iPad goes to Europe, Japan -- so do 3G roaming ripoffs," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.

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