An overlooked difference between iPad 1 and 2 (for us in SA anyway) #in

Posted on March 3, 2011

After Cell C launched their really awesome speedstick/whoosh deal (R1000 for 2 gig of data for 12 months – 24 gig in total) way back when, I wondered why they didn’t bundle it up with the iPad and get some publicity for their really good data deals. It was only in the middle of Feb when Gus Silber (@gussilber) pointed out to me on Twitter that the iPad 1 isn’t compatible with the 900MHz UMTS 3G that the penny dropped.

Up to that point I had been eyeing out the iPad thinking I really would like to get one – and planning to pop one of those juicy Cell C data cards into it. Plan foiled. Drat. Suddenly the Samsung Galaxy Tablet looked a bit more appealing, and yes, perhaps I’ve been drinking some of that Apple coolaid, but I wasn’t much taken with that option.

Roll on the iPad 2.

With its improvements :

  • Thinner (down from 13.4mm to 8.8mm)
  • Lighter (WiFi + 3G version is down from 730g to 613g)
  • Faster Processor (1GHz single-core A4 chip vs dual-core 1GHz A5 chip)
  • Faster Graphics (Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR SGX 543MP – up to 9 times faster) (See

Shiny new benefits :

  • Front-facing VGA camera
  • Rear-facing 720p camera
  • Gyroscope
  • Optional new case attached by magnets
  • Optional HDMI output dongle

So far it all sounds dandy. Yeah, its smaller, faster, better makes coffee and puts hair on your chest.  Lots to look at and smile about but nothing to make me reach into my wallet. To have such a toy and not be able to consume media with it just undermines the whole purpose. And yes, I could use WiFi in the house over the ADSL connection, but that isn’t the point.

Then while reading one of the reviews (Thanks ZDNet) came the shocker. While WiFi and Bluetooth remain the same (802.11 a/b/g/n and 2.1 + EDR respectively), the 3G radio has been upgraded.


The original iPad featured EDGE plus triband HSPA while the iPad 2 features EDGE plus quadband UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz) and GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz) for the AT&T versions.

There is the magic number. 900 UMTS. We are in the game baby. This thing will work with Cell C’s  4gs (3.5G) service. Suddenly my key sticking point for not getting one of these is gone. And I want it. Now 🙂

I am surprised this has been so under-reported here in SA. This really is a key change for us, and a game-changer for me.  I wonder if the discounted prices currently available on the iPads will be carried over to the new iPads when they arrive on our shores? ?  (They were touted as being the permanent new price rather than discounted price?) Wishful thinking I know, but one can dream. R5000 for the 3G 16 gig would be the sweet spot. Come on Digicape ( make us smile.

Link to MyBroadband post on the same topic : link

Update : Thanks Dimitri for clearing up any confusion on this and confirming that the Cell C 3G service does indeed run at 3G (rather just Edge as some have reported) speeds on the iPad 2. Just beware of coverage in outlying areas. Still, at R86/month for 2gig of data per month for a year (paid as R1000 upfront), that is a really awesome data deal. A whole lot better (still) than any of the competition are offering. And since it is prepaid, no nasty bill shock as you can’t go over the monthly limit.

Update 2 : 8ta vs Cell C  and my winner is …. 

8ta have also launched their super-duper data deal. R199 a month (on 24 month contract – yuck) gives you 10 Gig of data goodness to use and abuse with your iPad. That’s a lot of data for not a huge payment. Personally, I’m sticking to Cell C for now. At R86/month (on the R1000 prepaid option) for 2 Gig, I pay around a third of the 8ta price and get 20% of the data. Yes R43/Gig is quite a bit more than R20/Gig. Compared to where we were a year ago, this is a buyers market. Try to take advantage of that without getting tied in too long.

Update 3 : The “new’ iPad is here, thoughts and comparisons with iPad 2 here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Gadgets, iPad, Mobile, Wireless

32 Responses

  1. What are the differences between the iPad 2 and new iPad? |

    […] = 'jjza';A previous post of mine comparing the iPad and iPad 2 proved to be one of the most visited on the site with over 3500 people reading it. Since the new […]

    23.06.2012 18:10 Reply

  2. Mureed Abdulah:

    I have an iPad2 with wireless + 3G. Purchased 8ta data bundle with micro sim card. Unable to activate the data service from the iPad. any advice …

    17.12.2011 20:43 Reply

    • Justin:

      Sorry Mureed, I haven’t ever tried to use one myself.

      What kind of error messages are you getting on the iPad? With some more details maybe we can trouble shoot what is happening. Otherwise, I would suggest dropping into one of the 8ta stores and seeing if there is someone there who can help you.


      21.12.2011 12:12 Reply

  3. Kirsten:

    I am so clueless! I have the CellC stick (2gb monthly) and I really want to get the iPad 2 – do I need to buy the iPad2 with wireless + 3G? Or just with wireless? Thanks!

    10.12.2011 16:12 Reply

    • Justin:

      Hi Kirsten
      There are a couple of options.

      The USB stick won’t plug into an IPad. If you only want to be able to use the 2G per month on the iPad you can get the 3G iPad, take the sim out the Stick, do a sim swap at Cell C store for a Micro sim which then plugs directly into the iPad.

      If you still need to use the speedstick with a laptop then you can use it on the laptop and set up a wifi virtual access point on the PC (you may need to buy software to do this depending on your version of windows). This works but is a pain as you have to have the laptop on and the software running every time you want to use the iPad.

      Third option is to get a portable wifi hotspot / mifi device and then put the sim into there or plug the speedstick into this. These can vary in price from about 800 to 1500 depending on size, battery life etc.

      Hope that helps, ask more questions if not.


      10.12.2011 17:36 Reply

  4. Marc:

    anyone know how to recharge the cell C sim on the ipad 2? if i run our of the 2gigs..

    28.11.2011 14:32 Reply

    • Justin:

      Buy prepaid airtime, load it onto the sim. They had a special where if you loaded on R50 you would get 500 meg free to use in the week, that is a good deal.

      28.11.2011 19:17 Reply

  5. ivan:

    Got the ipad2 and am using the cell c 24G right now on the iPad posting this comment, ipad2 and cell c works very well, very fast Internet and I use it to stream a lot, cels also got an awesome promotion at the moment, if u buy R50 u get 50 free minute, 50 free SMS and 500mb of data and doubles if u buy R100, I use that too to download and stream! Gona support cell c forever with iPad if they keep going like this!!

    31.07.2011 14:49 Reply

  6. Mervin:

    Hi. Will my iPad 1 receive 3G on 8ta’s current 10gig sim/deal? (opposed to cell c 2 gig that only receives edge)

    25.07.2011 19:02 Reply

    • Justin:

      8ta is the Apple partner (they have deals in the Apple stores etc) and they use frequencies compatible with the iPad1 so the data speeds will be 3G and not edge.

      25.07.2011 19:33 Reply

  7. Willy:

    Hi guys, I’m in the USA at present and want to buy ipad2. Will it be compatible for use in s.a.? In terms of 3G setup?

    11.07.2011 22:11 Reply

    • Justin:

      Hi Willy
      Yes, the iPad 2 will work across all of the 3G networks

      11.07.2011 22:36 Reply

  8. Johan:

    Have anyone tried to get a dual sim from Cell C. One micro for Ipad and 1 standard for speedstick on the same R1499 package?

    12.06.2011 21:41 Reply

  9. Greg:

    I went to Cell C at Greenacres, Port Elizabeth yesterday and they sold me the MicroSim card for R29.00, and then did a sim swap with the 24 gig (R999.00) data card – all works perfectly and gives me 2 gigs a month at around R40.00 per gig.

    10.06.2011 13:27 Reply

    • Justin:

      That really is an awesome deal for anyone with a mobile device that consumes a lot of data. I’m surprised more people aren’t taking up the deal. R29 for the MicroSim is more than reasonable too. Nice to see a Cell provider not trying to rip off the customer. Kudos to Cell C Greenacres.

      11.06.2011 09:19 Reply

  10. Dimitri:

    I got the pad on launch day and the cellc 5GB package (data only). Immediately did a sim swop to a microsim. They wanted to charge me R150 i think it was but I said no, I want for free and they said ok – nice hey? Put in in while still at the customer centre, active immediately and did a speedtest. Got 3.6mbps down and 3.5mbps up – this was inside cellc customer care centre in Sandton. At home I am getting 1.9-2.5mbps. So even though Im very happy with the speed and the 5gb is enough to not worry about what you download I am still waiting to hit that 21mbps theoretical download of UMTS900. Just be careful of coverage. I was at the south coast this weekend and the guys with Vodacom had 3G on their pads and I had ZERO connection.

    17.05.2011 19:21 Reply

    • Justin:

      Thanks for the confirmation Dimitri. Would have thought this was a big market for Cell C but they have said nothing on the matter and their sales reps only confused the issue.

      17.05.2011 20:04 Reply

  11. Sheldyn:

    Hi Guys, i just got my ipad about 30 minutes ago. The whole point is the 3g card isnt it? what to do with this thing if it doesnt work!?!?!??! i will be in Sandton tomorrow so will pop into the store to get some info. i have the CellC USB dongle but I doubt that wuill work – software compatibility issues? Anyway as soon as i know i’ll send over some info. Cheerz

    16.05.2011 21:49 Reply

    • Justin:

      We look forward to hearing about your experiences and whether you get any joy. It is worth paying for the sim swap to the micro sim just to test it out, and if it doesnt work at anything faster than edge, swapping back to a regular sim and continuing to use it in the speedstick. The potential for saving is much higher than the cost of the swap back.

      17.05.2011 00:21 Reply

  12. De Villiers:

    I was wondering about the Cell C connection and just went into a Cell C store in Centurion. The manager confirmed that the Cell C data is compatable but the speed is only Edge, he could not tell me why….

    13.05.2011 13:45 Reply

    • Justin:

      Hi De Villiers
      He is right in so far as the iPad 1 only getting edge speeds. This is due to the 900mHz frequencies used for Cell C 3G. What we are all trying to find out is whether the iPad 2 works with Cell C. In theory it should as the radio has been upgraded. In practice nobody has yet confirmed it works.

      13.05.2011 15:56 Reply

  13. Graeme:

    I couldn’t get a straight answer out of anyone regarding Cell C’s 3G service on the ipad 2. So, I have gone for the prepaid data option from vodacom for the time being. I can confirm that I am getting 3G reception on my ipad 2 with the vodacom network using a micro sim obtained from a vodacom store. The price is ludicrous. R389 for 2 gigs of data. If someone can definitively state that Cell C’s 3G service works on the ipad 2, I”ll definitely take out their 24 gig R999 one year deal!

    05.05.2011 11:58 Reply

    • Justin:

      Hi Graeme
      I am also still struggling to get a straight answer. Will keep trying and let you know if manage to find anything out.

      05.05.2011 18:37 Reply

  14. Justin:

    See also the following :

    Dim, I’m curious now as to the test you did. Do you get a 3G connection in the same location using other devices ?

    19.04.2011 08:27 Reply

  15. Dim:

    iPad 2 and cell c 2gig data ,
    It does work as edge not 3G

    18.04.2011 23:34 Reply

    • Justin:

      Any ideas why? Technically it is supposed to work.

      18.04.2011 23:42 Reply

  16. Justin:

    Hi Graeme
    As a test could you not buy a standard Cell C starter pack sim (R10 type one), load a few Rand on it and see if it works, you will only be able to test with a few meg but it could be enough to confirm if it works or not.

    15.04.2011 18:04 Reply

  17. Graeme:

    Hey Justin, based in Johannesburg, Sandton. I’m going to try get hold of someone at Apple to see if they can give me any feedback. Also, the ipad uses a microsim, which means I’ll have to cut the standard cell c sim card to fit, unless Cell C sell micro sims ( I’ll let you know if I have any luck.

    15.04.2011 10:09 Reply

  18. Graeme:

    I went into a Cell C store yesterday to pick up a the 24 gig data sim card deal and was told by an employee within the store that there have been difficulties in getting the ipad 2 to connect on Cell C’s UTMS 900 network. The problem is, if I took the risk and paid the R999 for the sim and it didn’t work, Cell C wouldn’t give me a refund. 🙁 I decided to trawl through a few forums to see if anyone has had success. I haven’t found anything yet.

    15.04.2011 08:45 Reply

    • Justin:

      Hi Graeme
      Where are you based? Perhaps can find someone to do meet for coffee and do a test. I travel between Durban and Cape Town and have the 24 gig card.

      15.04.2011 09:23 Reply

  19. Edward:

    Hi there!
    just wondering if you ever got your iPad2? ..and to work with Cell C’s offering?? would be very interested to know!

    12.04.2011 08:16 Reply

    • Justin:

      Hi Edward
      Unfortunately not yet. I was hoping that my girlfriend could pick one up for me in the UK or Malaysia but they aren’t generally available yet. I see today on MyBroadband that Vodacom has released a decent deal on a 2 Gig per month package. At R150 per month its much better than previous offerings, though still not nearly as good as the Cell C 2 gig prepaid option (R86/month).

      12.04.2011 18:19 Reply

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