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International travelers are best off with the AT&T iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G


With the iPad 2, many people are sure to be excited that Apple is offering both AT&T and Verizon versions of the iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G. After all, many out there bemoan the less than desirable 3G service offered by AT&T, so it's nice that those people can buy an iPad 2 which allows them to opt for Verizon's 3G service. However, if you are a frequent international traveler like me, you'll want to make sure you buy the AT&T version of the iPad 2.

While you can buy any iPad 2 and use it on Wi-Fi networks when you land in a specific country, you won't be able to buy a data plan in most countries if you have the Verizon iPad 2. The reason for this is simple: the AT&T iPad 2 features a GSM chipset, which is the near-universal global standard. The Verizon iPad 2 3G uses a CDMA chipset, which, globally, is nowhere near as universal as GSM.

Of course, I'm assuming that you travel to most places I do, like Europe, Russia, Asia, and South America. If you are going to be traveling to Canada or Mexico a lot, the Verizon iPad 2 will work just fine for you since both those countries have wide CDMA networks. However, for most other parts of the world you're better off going with the AT&T iPad 2. When I leave the US with my AT&T iPad 2 and land in the UK, I can whip out my iPad and buy a 30-day subscription using one of Apple's data partners in the UK. If I had a Verizon iPad 2, on the other hand, I'd be out of luck for 3G data service while in the UK. Just something to think about before you let your frustration at AT&T's service push you into the open arms of the Verizon iPad 2.

Click these links for a full list of GSM and CDMA countries.

UPDATE: We have confirmed that the iPad 2 will NOT be carrier-locked.

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