Tablets are ideal mobile devices to take on the go. Larger than smartphones and with some of the sophistication and power of laptops and 2-in1’s, they’re a perfect always-connected device, either using Wi-Fi or using LTE data connections with an installed SIM card.
Having a persistent LTE connection makes sense for tablets that are used in the field by front line workers. It’s very common these days to see utility and construction workers with a tablet in hand while working. We even see tables during sports telecasts, where coaches walk the sidelines, frequently consulting a tablet. They are also ideal for students, freelancers, entrepreneurs and anyone who needs to be connected at all times.
LTE-enabled tablets make a lot of sense and have even led to some manufacturers creating power-efficient laptops running Windows on ARM processors that can similarly last for days instead of just hours. Always connected and always on computing devices that are larger in size than a smartphone are in our future. Right now, LTE tablets fill that role and Best Buy is the place to seek out the best LTE tablets and plans.
What you need to know about LTE tablets
All tablets feature Wi-Fi connectivity but there are certain variants that offer the option of using LTE data.
Apple iPads have always had Wi-Fi + LTE variants, which cost a bit more, but offer constant connectivity. In fact, the latest iPads and iPad Pros with this feature can use an Apple SIM, which is a proprietary SIM card which offers access to various partner carriers on a pay-as-you-go system, which could make sense if you’re travelling to another country.
Canadian carriers have a variety of tablet purchase and data plan options open to existing customers who already have established service and payment history.
Of course, you can insert a compatible SIM card and set-up a monthly service plan for your tablet. The same is true for Samsung Android tablets and even the recently announced Surface Pro LTE tablet.
Tablet LTE plans are mostly data-only for tablets only
What you need to get an LTE tablet online is a SIM card as well as a data plan. SIM cards attached to LTE tablets are locked to tablet devices.
If you remove them and use them on a smartphone, there will usually be penalties.
LTE tablet plans are usually data only and don’t provide for phone calls or text messaging.
Some carriers do offer this on certain models, but it is very unusual to see an LTE tablet replace a smartphone.
Having a tablet on LTE is game changing, specially in areas where connectivity is good. The only caveat is that it is easy enough to forget you’re using up LTE data and not your home Wi-Fi, so being mindful of your usage is critical, unless you want to pay for unexpected and unpleasant overages.
These tablet plans are available to be activated at Best Buy in-store today
Rogers offers three ways to get an LTE tablet. Existing customers can add one to their Share Everything plan starting at $10/month currently with a bonus of 1GB of data.
Customers can also opt to take an Easy Pay route which offers tablets for as low as $0 a month on specific terms. Finally, there’s a no term option for customers who want to pay in full—Rogers customers can choose either the 5th Generation Apple iPad ($599.99), or the LG G Pad IV ($336.99).
Like Rogers, Bell enables existing customer to add a tablet to their Share plan starting at $10/month currently with a bonus 1GB of data. Bell also has a BYOD plan, so customers can “bring your own device” and add it to an existing or new plan or pay in full or through instalments. In terms of data plans, Bell offers up to 100 MB of data starting at $10/month.
Other perks offered by Bell if you add a tablet to your existing phone plan are access to PressReader (7,000 newspapers and magazines) as well as access to TV via tablet for 24 months, which is pretty sweet if you plan on using your tablet for watching shows or sports.
Bell subsidiary Virgin Mobile offers the 9.7-inch iPad for $614 outright with data plans starting at $15 a month for 100 MB or a more sensible $20 a month for 3GB of data.
Rogers subsidiary Fido also has a few tablets to choose from. Models available include the 5th generation Apple iPad and the 6th Generation iPad ($599.99), and the LG G Pad IV($336.99).
Fido offers tablet add-ons to existing customers. Data plans begin at around $15 a month for 3GB of data, which is reasonable provided you are an existing customer.
Telus also has an “Easy Payment plan” LTE table option that includes either the 10.5-inch or the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
Telus also lets customers add a tablet to their existing account starting at $5 a month. In addition, roaming via TELUS Easy Roam is also included for access when travelling to the US.
Finding the best balance
Understanding your personal or business LTE tablet needs is a critical component to getting the most sensible data plan. Understand what your will use your tablet for, which apps or services will be relied on the most and how much data these need to work.
Some users will get a minimal data plan as a backup in case they travel outside Wi-Fi range or need to connect from the road.
Others might need a persistent connection, so they will expect to pay more, or at the very least get a data plan that can give them the flexibility to connect when it counts the most.
Check out the various options for LTE tablets at Best Buy.