iPad 2 Celluar Data Problems – O2 PAYG

I’ve had my iPad 2 since it was first released in the UK, thats a couple of years now and since the beginning I’ve been with O2 for my cellular data. this worked really well up until a couple of months ago. Firstly there was a bug with IOS/O2 carrier settings and it was constantly bugging me to update my carrier settings. This finally went away when upgrading to IOS 6.0.1 but since then my O2 data coverage has been shocking.

The ipad would constantly say it was searching for signal, even though my wife’s iPhone on the same network sat next to me had full signal. When I could get signal I was pretty much limited to GPRS. it seems that I’m not the only one with these issues, the O2 forums are awash with those complaining about this exact same issue. I tried downgrading to IOS 5 but still the same problem, which leads me to believe that it’s either a baseband issue (unlikely) or an issue again with O2 carrier settings. Due to the problems I had earlier in the year I would go with it being an O2 issue.

I’ve tweeted them and they where very helpful, I then dealt with them via customer service and they where less than helpful. They gave all the usual advice, reset network settings, restore ipad, fresh restore. None of these things work. They then said it could be the sim, but they wouldn’t just send me a new sim out, I would have to go to a store. This contradicted what customer service had said on Twitter and to be honest i was sick of speaking to them at this point (they even had me polishing the sim contacts!!).

Finally I decided that I would get a pay monthly sim on EE (formerly Orange). My iphone is on contract with Orange and since the Orange-T Mobile merger into EE coverage has been tremendous. A quick visit to the Orange website and my Sim was linked to my iPhone account & being dispatched.

It arrived today, i popped it into the iPad but no data, plenty of cellular signal but no data. I went onto the Orange website to activate the sim & was told the sim is activated already (worrying).

I decided to give Customer Service a call, something I hate doing with orange as the customer service agents are overseas and the line quality & delay are awful. After some jumping though hoops I was told that the sim is now in the process of being activated and should be operational within 4 hours.

What a hassle for cellular data on my iPad 3G. I don’t understand why you can’t just put a 3G sim in the iPad and it will work, why does it have to be a data only, ipad specific sim from your carrier. I even tested this with my contract sim from the iphone. Nothing, doesn’t work at all. It would be so much easier if we had control of our sims again.

So now I wait and hope that after months & months of shaky 3G I’ll have my 3G back. I like to have 3G access, sometimes I want to use it where wifi is unavailable, sometimes the wifi offered in bars & coffee shops is too slow or suffering a fault which cripples productivity.

I’ll update you with the progress of the Orange sim, but anyone with O2 on the iPad suffering from no service, i can assure it it’s the sim. With my new sim I already get full bars, where before I was lucky (very lucky) to get a single bar. It’s an obvious O2 fault as I’m in a great coverage area & couldn’t get signal even in my garden.

John Large

My name is John Large. I am a Web Developer, E-commerce site owner & all round geek. My areas of interest include hardware hacking, digital privacy & security, social media & computer hardware. I’m also a minimalist in the making, interested in the Tiny House movement & the experience economy along with a strong interest in sustainability & renewable energy. When I’m not tapping on a keyboard or swiping a smart phone I can be found sampling great coffee, travelling the world with my wife Vicki (who writes over at Let’s Talk Beauty) & generally trying to live my life as unconventionally as possible.

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