Imagine this: You’re travelling overseas and you need to get some work done or check on a couple of stuff on your iPad but there’s no free WiFi available. You can consider switching on your phone’s wifi hotspot but some telcos might not let you enable hotspot on their network. If you’re using the newer iPad Pro with WiFi + Celluar support, there’s actually a third way of getting online.
For those who own any of the following models, your iPad comes with an embedded Apple SIM and it is different from a physical nano-SIM card.
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation) Wi-Fi + Cellular model
iPad Pro 10.5-inch Wi-Fi + Cellular model
iPad Pro 9.7-inch Wi-Fi + Cellular model
Take note that this is only for models with 4G LTE support. It won’t work if you bought a WiFi only version.
With the Apple SIM embedded into your device, you can stay connected in more than 180 countries worldwide. Everything can be setup on the iPad, saving you the hassle of looking for a physical SIM. To do this, just head over to Settings > Mobile Data and then tap on “Set Up Mobile Data”. From there, it will list out the type of plans available which you can sign up and pay via credit card.
For those travelling to Malaysia, there are currently two options – AlwaysOnline and GigSky. Basically, these providers sell you data roaming access to local telcos which is somewhat similar to FlexiRoam.
With AlwaysOnline, they charge US$0.99 per hour (with 20MB of LTE data) and US$9.99 per day (with 200MB LTE data). For long term usage, they have quota based plans with 15 days validity at US$19.99 for 500MB, $39.99 for 1GB and US$89.99 for 3GB. It is quite expensive in Malaysia and the rates are much lower in Western countries. For example, 500MB/day costs US$2.99 in the US and you can get 1GB (valid for 15 days) at US$7.99.
Meanwhile, connecting to GigSky in Malaysia will cost you from US$10 for 100MB/day to US$50 for 1GB/month. If you’re travelling to the US and the UK, 1GB costs US$25 and 5GB at US$50 with 30 days validity. You can check out how much they charge for each country over at AlwaysOnline and GigSky‘s website.
Overall, it is still cheaper to get a local SIM. However, for moments when you’re desperate for a connection, at least you know there’s an alternative way of getting mobile data if you’re using an iPad Pro with an embedded SIM.