One of the biggest features of the new iPad unveiled yesterday by Apple is its inclusion of 4G LTE technology. Along with 4G capability, Apple announced that the new iPad would be getting the same mobile hotspot technology that was Apple began including in its iPhones with 2010's iPhone 4. Of course, not every carrier allows customers to use their phones as mobile hotspots, so Apple was quick to point out that the feature was dependent on carrier support.
That, of course, raised the big question: will Verizon and AT&T support mobile hotspot with the 4G iPad? The answer appears to be yes and no, respectively. Customers who use their 4G iPads on Verizon's network will have mobile hotspot capability as part of their data plans, while AT&T customers will not.
When asked this morning via Twitter whether AT&T would offer tethering for the new iPad, an AT&T spokesperson replied that they would not.
@NickThulin As of now we are not.If it changes we will tweet it out.
— ATTCustomerCare (@ATTCustomerCare) March 8, 2012
In response to a follow-up inquiry by 9to5Mac another AT&T spokesperson said that AT&T was working with Apple to make the mobile hotspot available to 4G iPad users, but that it would not be offered when the iPad launches next week. I sent a request for more information to AT&T, asking for a little more information on a possible timeline, but have not yet received a response.
AT&T's statement prompted similar questions to Verizon. Reports this morning were conflicted, as different sources appeared to be saying different things. It appears now, though, that Verizon will, in fact, offer mobile hotspot as part of all their 4G tablet data plans. Here's what a Verizon spokesperson told me via email:
Verizon Wireless will support the Mobile Hotspot feature on the iPad just as we do on the existing 4G tablets we offer. All of our tablet data plans which range from 1GB for $20 to 10 GB for $80 include this feature so customers do not have to purchase the service separately.
So there you have it: a Verizon iPad comes with mobile hotspot right out of the box, bundled together with whatever plan you choose. AT&T will apparently offer the feature at some point in the future, but not at the iPad's launch next week.
What do you think? Does the mobile hotspot feature make you more inclined to pick Verizon over AT&T? Let us know in the comments.