Even though the second-largest cellular carrier in China uses CDMA, as does Verizon, all of the evidence suggests that the AT&T (GSM) version is the best bet for China. The reply here said that, and my wife found an account of trimming the width of some Chinese carriers' SIM card to fit the iPad (1)'s slot, and it working. So, that's what we bought for them.
I'm curious as to why buying the CDMA version wouldn't be more appropriate, but I'll nevertheless mark this question as answered.
This is the current situation in China:
- China Mobile (largest provider) uses CDMA
- China Unicom (second largest) uses 3G GSM
I live here in China and have ordered an iPad2 Wifi 3G (AT&T), because I plan to use it with a China Unicom SIM-card (3G). I'm very confident that it will work, because I am currently using a Hongkong iPhone 3G and have SIM cards from both providers. With China Mobile I can connect to the internet by EDGE, which is not very fast but good enough for emails and limited surfing. I don't see any problem that this should not work as well with an iPad 3G. If I put in my China Unicom SIM-card, the 3G sign will show up on my phone and I can surf at decent speeds (as for China).
Anyway, I recommend to use China Unicom if mobile internet is the priority. All my iPhone crazy Chinese friends are currently switching from China Mobile to Unicom... this should say something. I have heard some complaints about coverage of China Unicom, but if you stay in the big cities this shouldn't be an issue.
I will keep you guys posted as soon as I've tried it with my new iPad2!!
3G services in China:
China Mobile = TD-SCDMA
China Unicom = WCDMA
China Telecom = CDMA (EDVO compatible)
China Mobile's 3G network has been horribly designed and poorly managed making it incompatible with ipad2, and works only on GSM and only compatible with AT&T version of ipad2
Currently China Unicom's service works for both roaming and for local subscriptions with the AT&T version of the ipad2. That said Unicom's 3G service is very spotty and often unreliable, but is really the only mass market option for local sim cards / use.
China Telecom CDMA works with Verizon versions when roaming in China. Best 3G service, pound for pound, is China Telecom, but right now 3G ipads are not being sold in China, which means China Telecom is not offering local plans (yet). Because the Verizon version of ipad2 dont carry a sim slot, you cannot get on to the network with roaming (which is expensive) until China Telecom supports and publishes the hack.
Although engineers in Guangdong branch of China Telecom hacked the Verizon iphone4 to get it onto their network, but so far no one has published a solution for the Verizon ipad2.
Thanks for your advice - this is exactly what I have been looking for.
I am also outside the USA, but family in the USA will buy me an iPad2 WiFi + 3G for use in my country (South Africa). I now understand that they have to buy me the iPad 2 64GB (my choice) with Wi-Fi + 3G for AT&T version (and NOT the Verizon Wireless).
All I need to do in my home country is to replace the AT&T Sim card with a micro sim card from a local 3G carrier.
One question: Can one buy an iPad 2 WiFi + 3G in the USA which is not Verizon or AT&T linked? Those are the only two possibilities on the Apple Onlne website?
If so, where?
Message was edited by: kv1
The CDMA model will only work with Verizon, as I understand it - there is no SIM card and it is effectively locked.
The GSM model is not tied to ATT - it comes with a provided ATT SIM card, and in the US no other provider offers a data plan for it. However, you do not need an ATT contact to purchase it, the SIM card is replaceable, and it is not locked - so at any time you can switch to another GSM provider that offers a data plan.
So to answer your question, the GSM model is not truly linked to ATT - calling it the ATT model is more of a service to the many people who don't understand the difference between the two technologies and are looking for a then provider with better coverage inn their area.