Apple iPad can't roam

We've already complained about the fact that you'll need a whole new data plan to use the 3G Apple iPad. Now it turns out that data plan may not even be usable when outside the UK.


The iPad comes in two versions - a Wi-Fi only version, and one that can also connect to the internet via a 3G SIM. But just to make things a little more complicated, it's not actually available from the operators who'll sell you those SIMs - you'll have to head to Currys, PC World or the Apple Store instead.


Now The Times is reporting that some UK operators have had to disable roaming on these SIMs, as the networks are legally required to send a text message to customers arriving in a new country, alerting them to the the fact that they will be incurring roaming charges. The iPad can't receive text messages, and so some UK operators, including Orange, may not be able to allow roaming on their SIMs.


O2 SIMs also will not be able to hop onto foreign 3G networks, as the operator sells iPad data plans on a prepay basis only - and these don't allow roaming. Some European operators are investigating the possibility of sending an email instead of a text to alert customers of roaming charges and thus around the legal requirement. We'll keep you updated if this makes it over to the UK.


You can still use Wi-Fi networks aboard, but this does call into question the purpose of buying a 3G-enabled iPad, which start at £529 for the 16GB version - without monthly data plan.



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