The best iPad and other tablet data plans

We comb through dozens of data-only SIM plans to provide the best options for iPads, Samsung Galaxy Tabs, Pixel Tablets or any other tablet.

Best iPad plan overall
Vodaphone
Large Data Plan
4 out of 5 stars
4
🔥
No excess data fees
Typical price
$40/mth
Data
70GB
Best cheap iPad plan
Belong
20GB Data SIM Only
4 out of 5 stars
4
🔥
Gift unused data
Typical price
$15/mth
Data
20GB
Best Telstra network iPad plan
Tangerine Telecom
200GB Mobile Broadband Data Plan
4 out of 5 stars
4
🔥
$5 monthly discount for 6 months
Typical price
$49.90/mth
Data
200GB
Best Optus network iPad plan
Aussie Broadband
X-Large Data Only 5G SIM
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
🔥
Share unused data
Typical price
$60/mth
Data
120GB
Best Vodafone network iPad plan
Lebara Logo
Data Plan Medium
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
🔥
200GB data bank
Typical price
$37/60 days
Data
60GB
Nathan Lawrence
May 10, 2024
Icon Time To Read5 min read

There are loads of tablets to choose from even if you’re just looking at iPads. The regular iPad, iPad Mini and iPad Pro, across multiple generations. Then there’s a selection of Samsung Galaxy Tabs and other contenders like the Google Pixel Tablet. If you spend more on the cellular version of compatible products, you need to pair the iPad or other tablet with a data plan for data on the go.

Alternatively, certain telcos like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone let you pick a new iPad or other tablet and pair it with a data plan. In terms of costs, the cheaper tablet plans start at around $15 for a bit of data while the priciest ones cost $300+ for a year of prepaid data. Scroll on for the best iPad and tablet plans for SIM-only or bundled with a new tablet.

Here’s a look at the most popular tablet plans from our comparison engine.

Data plans for tablets

Just like smartphones, iPads or other tablets marked with “WiFi + cellular” can use mobile data directly from the device. This is achieved via physical SIM card or, where supported, digital eSIM. You’ll find pricier cellular models for iPad, iPad Mini, iPad Air and iPad Pro. The same is true of the Samsung Galaxy Tab and other Android tablets. Note that you can likely bundle most Telstra, Optus or Vodafone data plans with a new tablet.

Even if you have a cellular-capable iPad or other tablet, you don’t necessarily need a data-only plan. Modern smartphones feature tethering functionality, which can turn your smartphone into a WiFi hotspot for other nearby devices. The only catch is that uses your mobile data. Still, save money by opting for a prepaid or SIM-only plan with loads of data, or use what you have already if you’ve got gigabytes to spare.

Here’s a look at popular SIM-only plans from our database with at least 50GB of monthly data.

And here are popular prepaid plans from our comparison with at least 50GB of data per recharge.

Vodafone Large Data Plan

Best iPad plan overall

pro
Pros
pro Decent monthly data
pro No excess data fees
pro Data sharing
con
Cons
con No Vodafone 5G
con 2Mbps speeds after 70GB
con No data rollover

Vodafone is a good place to start iPad or other tablet plan comparisons, whether you’re in the market for a new tablet or just want a data-only plan. The Vodafone Large Data Plan offers a good mix of comparatively reasonable pricing and plenty of data. You get 70GB of data for $40 a month. Admittedly, that’s restricted to the Vodafone 4G network but there aren’t any excess data fees. There is, however, a 2Mbps cap if you go over. You can also share excess data, plus there’s a 30-day network-satisfaction guarantee if you’re not sure this plan is right for you.

Alternatively, consider the cheaper Spintel Mobile Broadband 50GB plan or the Tangerine Telecom 100GB Mobile Broadband Data Plan for more data if you already have a compatible tablet.

Belong 20GB Data SIM Only

Best cheap iPad plan

pro
Pros
pro Great monthly price
pro Decent amount of data
pro Telstra network access
con
Cons
con No Telstra 5G
con No data banking
con eSIM not supported

Just because your iPad or other tablet has cellular data capabilities, doesn’t mean you need a whole lot of it. Case in point, the Belong 20GB Data SIM Only plan. You’ll need to bring your own tablet, like a refurbished iPad, but it’s a solid base offering: $15 per month for 20GB of data. Admittedly, that’s restricted to the Telstra 4G network but download speeds can reach a reasonable 150Mbps. You can gift unused data but, unfortunately, you can’t bank it like you can with regular Belong SIM-only mobile plans. Still, 20GB of data is a tidy amount for sporadic monthly data needs via the widespread Telstra network.

For cheap alternatives, consider the Vodafone Small Data Plan or the Telstra Upfront Data Plan Small.

Tangerine 200GB Mobile Broadband Data Plan

Best Telstra network iPad plan

pro
Pros
pro Discounted price for six months
pro Telstra 5G included
pro Heaps of data
con
Cons
con Speeds capped at 250Mbps
con No data banking
con Moderate number of support pathways

If you’re keen on a Telstra network iPad or other tablet plan, that’s probably because you like the idea of tapping into Australia’s largest mobile network. But just because you want the Telstra network, doesn’t mean you need to be a Telstra customer. The Tangerine 200GB Mobile Broadband Data Plan is our pick of the best data-only plan on the Telstra network. Why? The first six months are discounted before a reasonable monthly fee. Whichever price you pay, you get 200GB of data. While it’s capped at 250Mbps, that’s more than enough speed to do any tablet task. Tangerine also offers seven-day tech support if something goes wrong.

For Telstra network alternatives, consider the cheaper Tangerine 100GB Mobile Broadband Data Plan or the Belong 100GB Data SIM Only plan.

Aussie Broadband X-Large Data Only 5G SIM

Best Optus network iPad plan

pro
Pros
pro Plenty of data
pro Optus 5G access
pro Data sharing
con
Cons
con No data bank
con Optus 5G network availability
con No eSIM support

The Optus mobile network has a reputation for offering a good mix of coverage, speed and plan value. If you’re in the market for an iPad or other tablet plan on the Optus network, check out the Aussie Broadband X-Large Data Only 5G SIM. This plan comes with 120GB of data for a comparatively reasonable monthly fee, served on the Optus 5G network. If you’re struggling to use up that 120GB, consider adding friends or family to your account to share the gigabytes. Aussie Broadband also has a great customer reputation and Aussie-based support.

For Optus network alternatives, consider the 20GB Optus Choice Plus Plan for something cheaper or the Aussie Broadband XX-Large Data Only 5G SIM if you want even more data.

Lebara Data Plan Medium

Best Vodafone network iPad plan

pro
Pros
pro Decent amount of data
pro 20GB bonus data
pro Multi-month prepaid
con
Cons
con No Vodafone 5G
con No data sharing
con Moderate number of support options

The Vodafone mobile network is typically home to plans with competitive prices and a decent chunk of data. Case in point, the Lebara Mobile Data Plan Medium. This prepaid plan costs $37 for a 60-day recharge and comes with 60GB of data. Plus, if you sign up before 18 August, you'll get 20GB of bonus data.

What to look for in a data plan

The first step is to check whether you actually need a plan. If you have an iPad or other tablet that’s WiFi only, a data plan won’t do you any good. Even if you do have a cellular-capable tablet, you can use the hotspot feature on your smartphone to share data when you’re out and about. If data is a concern, consider something like the Felix Mobile Unlimited Mobile Plan, which has unlimited data (albeit capped at 20Mbps).

If you do want a data plan, check whether your tablet is 4G or 5G compatible. Either way, you can save money with a 4G plan even with a 5G tablet. Note that just because 5G speeds are faster, doesn’t mean you need them. Streaming video on a tablet only needs around 15Mbps, so faster download speeds basically mean less time waiting for app and file downloads.

Pick the network that’s right for you. If you live in a metro area, you’ll have a choice of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. If you travel to less populous parts of Australia, Telstra has the best coverage. You can also potentially save money by investing in a longer-term prepaid plan instead of a monthly SIM-only plan. If you go with the latter, data banking is a great feature to keep an eye out for.

icon-expertise

How we choose the best tablet data plans

We track dozens of data-only plans in our comparison engine, across prepaid, SIM-only and postpaid plans that are pairable with a new iPad or Samsung Galaxy tablet. The first step is to list all of these in terms of cost, duration and included data.

The next step is to determine the average monthly pricing—monthly or other durations depending on prepaid recharge duration—and then use dollar-to-data value as a basis for initial comparison. We made notes on potential deterrents, including contracts and speed caps, as well as potential pros like data banking.

Finally, we considered the network and whether it was offered as a 4G or 5G plan. We like the widespread nature of the Telstra network but also appreciate the value of Optus and Vodafone MVNOs that are available to most Australians.

iPad data plans frequently asked questions

Yes, as long as your iPad supports cellular connectivity, you can get a data-only plan for it. Alternatively, bundle an iPad with a data-only plan to pay off your tablet over time.
Without an available WiFi network, you either need a cellular-capable iPad or a smartphone that can activate hotspot mode to get internet with a tablet.
Yes, any non-cellular iPad model can use the internet via private or public WiFi, or by connecting to a smartphone via hotspot WiFi.
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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