The iPad 2 is finding its way into trembling hands across the U.S. even as I type. And as prospective buyers rush into the Apple store, they're probably wondering which iPad 2 with 3G service to buy -- the one from AT&T or the one from Verizon?
I've come across two reports showing that AT&T's 3G network is faster than Verizon's.
* Wired reported on Feb. 17 that in tests conducted by the creators of Speedtest.net, AT&T iPhone transfer rates were "roughly two times faster than the Verizon iPhone's." It's likely to assume that the iPad 2 will perform better on AT&T's 3G network, as well.
* PC World reported on Feb. 22 that in its 13-city tests, AT&T's 3G network was 67 percent faster on average than its competitor's networks, including Verizon.
Still wondering whether you should get an iPad 2 with 3G? If you travel at all, I recommend it. Yes, Wi-Fi is becoming more widely available (and sometimes free) in airports and hotels. But you can't count on it. Also, if you attend trade shows or conferences, you can't always rely on the show's Wi-Fi signal, either. For example, this week I attended the Search Marketing Expo (SMX) conference in San Jose. The conference Wi-Fi signal was often painfully slow. So instead, I used my iPad's AT&T 3G service--which was actually faster.
Incidentally, SMX attendees were asked several times to turn off their MiFi portable routers, as they were interfering with the Wi-Fi.