So you got your iPad and you heard that your favourite telco has those handy microsim cards on hand. If you already have a broadband plan on your mobile phone and intend to use it with your new iPad 3G, you’re out of luck. The Singtel guy at the counter told me that I had to sign a separate 2 year data plan with Stinktel just so I can use 3G internet on the iPad. That’s the only way they’d give me a microsim card.
But this is how you get around it. Sorta.
Tell your telco you want a multisim. This just means you’ll be given 2 sim cards on the same plan you currently have. Singtel charged me a one-time $30 fee, and a $5 monthly. You’ll be handed 2 similar simcards. 1 card will go into your existing phone, the other on to your desk, where you will have to perform some minor surgery to convert it to a microsim.
My iPad came from the States, so there was an AT&T microsim card already inside the machine. I used a marker to draw an outline of the microsim on top of the simcard, used a pair of scissors to cut the outside of the outline, and a nail-file to bring it down to size. Be careful not to cut any portion of the metal contacts at the end (they’re extremely small). Good tutorials can be found on ihackintosh and Macrumors.
Once you managed to squeeze your homemade microsim into your iPad, be patient. Singtel takes about 2 days to activate your multisim account, so you’ll have to wait till then to see the results of your surgery.
When the account is activated, you’ll notice the words “Singtel 3G” on the top left of your iPad, much like the iPhone. You’ll probably try to fire up your browser or Twitter and find that you can’t connect to the internet. “Cellular Data not subscribed” or some such message appeared for me. You’ll need to go to “Settings > Cellular Data > APN Settings”, and put in your APN, Username and Password. If you already have a data plan working on your iPhone, you can get these fields at “Settings > General > Network > Cellular Data Network”.
Once you set these fields on your iPad, give it a while to get all set up. Not sure if you have to, but I restarted my iPad.
When your multisim account is activated, be sure to put the other simcard into your phone. Your original simcard doesn’t work anymore.
Important: One thing Singtel didn’t tell me was that the 2 simcards are not identical. One of them is a Primary simcard which allows it to function like a normal simcard. The Secondary simcard does not take incoming calls. So if your phone hasn’t rung since the multisim account was activated, it’s highly likely that you put the primary card into your iPad.
Panic. Panic. Hyperventilate. I…cut…up…my…primary…card.
No worries. If your secondary simcard is in your phone, dial *141# to set the simcard in the phone as the primary simcard.
There! You’re done.
On a sidenote, one question I was asked is whether it was worth getting a 3G iPad rather than just the Wifi one. If you’re serious about using the internet, yes. I was foolhardy at first to think I could tether the iPad to my iPhone etc, but the hassle would pretty much kill the amazing internet device the iPad is.
It is so liberating to hit the switch on the iPad and have internet connectivity almost anywhere. Well worth the extra cost, in my opinion.
A good gauge is how you use your iPhone, if you have one. If you use it like an iPod, maybe the Wifi-only iPad is for you. And if that’s so, I don’t think you fully grasped the whole concept of the iPhone.
Even my mother has a twitter account.
Photo credit: Kominyetska on Flickr, licensed under a Creative Commons License.