That entry-level data plan you signed up for to go along your brand spanking new iPad? It’s obsolete, thanks to the device’s 4G LTE networking that allows for speeds easily exceeding your home broadband connection. As a result, folks planning on enjoying 4G speeds on the go may likely blow past through their monthly allowance in a couple days. Your mileage may wary, of course, depending on your mobile usage habits.

Here in the U.S., entry-level data plans for iPad begin at $15 or $30 a month, depending on your carrier. AT&T’s entry-level 250MB plan will set you back $14.99 a month, with 2GB/5GB plans costing $30/$50 a month. Rival Verizon Wireless is offering 2GB/5GB/10GB tiers priced at $30/$50/$80 a month.

But even five gigabytes a month is conceivable insufficient when you stream high-definition movies and television shows to your device over 4G LTE networks, upload big photos to your social networks or edit and upload full HD movies to YouTube, etc. The Wall Street Journal has the full story (subscription required)…

According to the publication, once customer was able to burn through his 2GB cap just by way of wirelessly streaming March Madness games during a two-day period.

Two hours of college basketball—which he viewed mounted to his car dashboard and live at tournament games—had burned through his monthly wireless data allotment of two gigabytes.

This hardly comes as a surprise given 4G LTE download speeds are anywhere between 10-20 times greater than a typical 3G HSPA+ connection enjoyed on your iPhone. It could be argued that neither Apple nor carriers are doing much to educate average consumers of the intricacies behind cellular data management.

Another layer to this problem is the Retina display that packs a million more pixels than an HDTV. Coupled with fast 4G LTE data speeds, this means users are likely to stream 1080p video to their iPads, increasing their data usage.

And we all know your carrier will happily impose a surcharge for data traffic outside your monthly data cap. The Journal explains:

Verizon estimates that streaming it over an LTE connection runs through 650 megabytes an hour. That’s double the amount of data used streaming the same video over a 3G link, because the fatter pipe lets more data through. On top of that, the new iPad’s sharper screen will encourage some users to view videos in high-definition, which uses 2 gigabytes an hour on a 4G connection, according to Verizon.

The report has it that Apple and carriers could partly mitigate the issue by having developers pay for data their apps consume on cellular networks as this traffic wouldn’t count against the user’s allowance. Until some sort of an industry-wide agreement is reached, users are left to figure out their cellular data consumption on their own.

Unfortunately, the most recent version of iOS is lacking basic controls to manage data consumption on the go. Wouldn’t it be nice if iOS gained finely-tuned data management akin to Android Ice Cream Sandwich, allowing people to set warning limits, per-app data quota and more?

  • Luke Row

    Reading this has kinda made me grateful that the UK is slow to jump on the 4G bandwagon – I’d only be disappointed with the costs involved!

  • Kok Hean

    -Cheapest SingTel plan in Singapore-

    S$39.90 = 12GB data 🙂

    Want data? $30/mth = unlimited

  • I don’t worry about that issue with my new iPad wi-fi model ,I use my iPhone 4 my-wi cydia app

  • sorry, but 4G cannot “exceed” broadband speeds. Not mine anyways. I don’t think that’s an accurate statement.

    • That’s totally accurate. Of course it doesn’t apply to all cases, but have you seen our LTE speed test? Many comments in there said that those speeds destroyed their home broadband.

      • I think “can exceed” would be the proper phrasing. I winced at that as well.. (60mbps down at home).

      • Really? Yeah Jeff, and intercontinental speeds reach into the gigabytes a second. How dare you generalize so bad! Do you realize how many billions of people are scoffing at those LTE speeds? :)~

        In my town of 250k people 12MBps is the max!

      • Kok Hean

        Your new iPad’s LTE is faster than my home’s Internet connection. Wired. 10x faster.

    • Luke Row

      …yes because everyone is on your home broadband package

  • its really a bummer that apple and the carriers havent put more effort into optimizing the way traffic is handled and at what price and with capacity data plans are offered. but i dont like the idea of the traffic cost for apps being handed to the developpers, why cant apple handle that one, its their appstore? also when streaming videos from a paid service like netflix or itunes, the carriers and the paid streaming platforms should come to an agreement, taking care of at least half of the users traffic, created by streaming videos from their platform. i mean whats the use of that big fat LTE, if your allowance is being eaten within 1-2 hours? And i guess we can all agree to the fact,
    that no matter how fast your home internet connection is,
    nobody cares.

  • bryce barnes

    Apple should use that $100 BILLION and blanket the continent in 4G and charge $30/mo for UNLIMITED usage. A little competition would do these greedy carriers some good. Maybe they’ll stop moving in the opposite direction of the capabilities of the technology being released by the hardware vendors.

  • Anonymous

    I’m scared if a 4G iPhone comes put. I already go over the 2GB data on my iPhone 4. 5Gb plan here I come? D:

  • Anonymous

    Verizon killed the $20 for 1GB plan?

  • 4G isn’t compatible here in Australis yet, and with those data allowances, it isn’t really worth it, the improved 3G signal is quite fast through Telstra, and we get a lot better data allowance than that.

    It is promising signs and shows the progression Into the post PC world.