Why would I need a mobile broadband SIM card for an iPad mini?
An iPad mini with a mobile broadband SIM card allows you to get online wherever there’s mobile signal. That means it has everything onboard to access mobile networks and you don’t need to carry additional equipment. All you’ll need to do is ensure you have the correct iPad mini SIM card.
How can I tell if my iPad mini supports mobile broadband SIM cards?
If you already own an iPad mini it’s easy to tell if it supports a SIM card by looking at whether it has a SIM card slot. If not, you have a Wi-Fi only model.
I’m buying a new iPad mini - how do I know if it has a SIM card slot?
All the iPad mini and mobile broadband bundles you see on Broadband Genie will support SIM cards.
If you want to be certain, check the technical specifications provided by the supplier before purchasing.
Can I still use mobile broadband if my iPad mini does not have a SIM card slot?
If you have a Wi-Fi only iPad mini it is still possible to use mobile broadband but it will require a mobile Wi-Fi dongle.
These dongles provide connectivity via a Wi-Fi signal, which your iPad mini can use to access mobile broadband.
It is not possible to use a USB dongle with an iPad.
Which iPad mini should I buy?
At present the iPad mini 4 is the only model still produced by Apple.
You may find refurbished older models available from the mobile networks, and there is always plenty of supply on the second hand market. Buying an older model can be good value for money since the specifications are often not hugely different and they may offer a significant saving. Refurb deals can be especially good as they typically include a warranty.
What size SIM card do I need for my iPad mini?
All versions of the iPad mini use a nano SIM card. When purchasing an iPad mini SIM card deal, or an iPad mini with mobile broadband service, you will be supplied the correct size.
The following table shows the type of SIM card required for all models of the iPad:
|iPad (Wi-Fi + 3G)||•|
|iPad 2 (Wi-Fi + 3G)||•|
|New iPad / iPad 3 (Wi-Fi+3G)||•|
|iPad with Retina Display / iPad 4 (Wi-Fi + 3G/4G)||•|
|iPad Air (Wi-Fi + 3G/4G)||•|
|iPad Air 2 (Wi-Fi + 3G/4G)||•|
|iPad mini (Wi-Fi + 3G/4G)||•|
|iPad mini 2 (Wi-Fi + 3G/4G)||•|
|iPad mini 3 (Wi-Fi + 3G/4G)||•|
|iPad mini 4 (Wi-Fi + 3G/4G)||•|
|iPad Pro (Wi-Fi + 3G/4G)||•|
|iPad (Wi-Fi + 3G/4G)||•|
What’s the best mobile network for an iPad mini?
The best network for the iPad mini is the one which has the strongest signal in the locations where it will be used most frequently. Mobile broadband speeds are heavily dependant on good signal strength so it’s extremely important to check coverage before buying.
Once you’ve figured out which network or networks have the best signal, then you can delve into other aspects of the service such as monthly price and data allowance.
How can I check mobile broadband network coverage?
The networks all have their own coverage check tools where you can enter a town or postcode and view service availability. In general these will allow you to see whether there is 3G and 4G, and whether the signal is for indoor use or outdoors only.
To access these tools click the network logos:
What should I look out for to get the best iPad mini SIM card deal?
As you can see from the table above, there’s no shortage of offers for iPad mini SIM cards. So how do you know which is the best deal for you? Let’s break it down.
Our comparison tables allow the results to be filtered, so you can click the column headers or use the ‘sort by’ menu to prioritise particular features and quickly locate the best package.
If there’s an up-front cost we’ll say so in here. Many deals have no setup cost, those that do will typically be PAYG SIM packages which give you some data to get started.
The ongoing cost of the contract, where applicable. This is the minimum you’ll pay each month before any other charges. The higher this is, the higher your data limit.
The length of the network contract. Many of these SIM offers are short term 1 or 3 month contracts so you don’t need to commit for a long time.
The top download speed of the service. This is based on what the network is capable of and is an estimate only, that the theoretical top speed is unlikely to be seen in real world conditions. Remember that the iPad Mini supports 4G as well as 3G so you can opt for a much faster mobile broadband service if you want it.
The amount of data you can use for each billing period or per top-up. How quickly this is used up will depend on what you do online, for more information please read our guide to mobile broadband data usage.