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Im looking to buy an ipad here in the US as a gift for a friend in India.

I have looked at the 4G LTE bands and am not betting on if Indian carriers may end up using the same bands, but what concerns me is the following:

Is the iPad(AT&T or Verizon) locked to its respective network?

Since the GSM/HSPA+ use similar frequencies in India, could I possibly plug in an Airtel (local carrier) SIM and expect 3G to work well at least?

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2 Answers

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According to this footnote on an Apple iPad page:

iPad models are unlocked and may support LTE networks outside the country of purchase when using a valid SIM from a supported carrier. Contact your carrier for more details.

Based on this information, your iPad should work on international networks using a local SIM, with the caveat that the local network provides data service in the bands that your iPad supports.

The AT&T and Verizon models support different bands, as noted on this Apple iPad 4th Gen page:

Model A1459*

  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • LTE (Bands 4 and 17)

Model A1460*

  • CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • LTE (Bands 1, 3, 5, 13, 25)

The iPad Mini supports similar bands.

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Given that there are only 2 models, does this mean that the Model A1460 is sold on Sprint and Verizon? If so why even bother to mention the carriers separately? –  user1266515 Dec 13 '12 at 13:32
1  
Yes, A1460 is the Sprint/Verizon model. According to forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1498444, Verizon enforces access to its network: "Verizon has a database with the serial numbers that are allowed to access its network, so a Sprint model won't work." –  JW8 Dec 13 '12 at 18:00
    
Perfect! Thanks –  user1266515 Dec 13 '12 at 19:41
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Recently, Airtel Launched 4G/LTE services in Bangalore, but it made no difference to iPAD 3 community. When I contacted Airtel technical support, they offered me a LTE Indoor Wireless Gateways. Their claim is that one can carry LTE wifi-spot along with iPAD not a bad idea for those who are travelling with all their electronic gadgets.

Technically, new iPAD now supports 700 MHz and 2100MHz LTE bands, and in India, DOT has allotted 2300 to 23400 MHz spectrum for BWA/LTE. Secondly, difference is of-course LTE technology modes namely Time Division Duplex (TDD – also called as TD-LTE ), Frequency Division Duplex (FDD – also called FD-LTE) and half FDD. Apple LTE Specs are following for AT&T & Verizon FD-LTE network configuration, and Airtel got a TD-LTE network. So all new iPad 3 users in Kolkata and Bangalore will have to settle down for a 3G network.

In India 2100 MHz band is used by defense is about to vacate 5 MHz for BWA sooner or later. 700 MHz band is used by BSNL, Defence and other disaster management agencies, about 40 MHz bandwidth is used and TRAI has recommended to get this frequency band vacated for BWA usage.

BSNL had opted itself out of BWA/LTE space, which will make private players to dominate and bring in their price plans. Further, it will be interesting watch others including Qualcomm, Infotel (Reliance subsidiary), Aircel and Tikona who have won e-actions during mid 2010, and their plans on LTE deployment. Missing harmony between spectrum winners will result in issues in interoperability, and end users will have to bare that pain. It will be similar to current TV Set Top Boxes stories, they are not portable between satellite dish service providers, though equipment are generic.

But, it’s not because Airtel which uses TD-LTE technology, iPAD which wont able to connect (as one Airtel communicated to me) but because of frequency band which iPADs built with (700 & 2100 MHz) and DOT allocated (2300 MHz). I wish, Apple to push new baseband update (aka modem firmware – not sure about other dependencies such as Antennas and etc) with 2300 MHz band offered by DOT for BWA. There is difference between India operators and American operators, American Operators spend in millions for interoperability and Field Testing. FT is also done in India, with much reduced scope & coverage. Remember they have also invested in huge for spectrum, equipment and other assets, so they surely have done due-diligence to confirm deployment obligations from DOT/TRAI/Government to protect end users like you and me.

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