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March 19, 2012

Verizon 4G LTE IPad Can Piggyback on AT&T's 3G Network

If you can’t access your Verizon 4G LTE network with your iPad, or if you are running out of data time, don’t despair. Through a weakness in the new iPad’s hardware, you can simply use AT&T’s 3G network for free.

The hack, first reported on the Mac Rumors forum, can be accomplished by taking the Verizon SIM card out of the iPad and replacing it with an AT&T SIM card, possibly from an iPhone 4S. Then, after changing the APN settings, the new iPad will be able to use the AT&T 3G network. The network, which uses HSPDA-plus technology, is almost as fast as a 4G network.

Neither the carriers nor Apple have commented on this issue. However, it’s not the first hack that users were able to carry out on the new iPad. Within three hours of its release, three hackers had already exploited security loopholes in the device to enable it to run unauthorized apps, like the Cydia Store.

These hacks are called “jailbreaks” and can enable the iPad and other devices to tap into the potential for running unauthorized software as well as enabling the jailbreaker to unlock his or her network service contract.

“Smartphones, tablets, and video game consoles are powerful computers with lots of untapped potential,” the Electronic Freedom Foundation says on its website. “Yet many of these devices are set up to run only software that's been approved by the manufacturer. Modifying a device to run independent software, known as jailbreaking, is important to programmers, enthusiasts, and users.”

Jailbreaking is currently legal thanks to an exemption to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. However, the exemption is set to expire this year, which could leave many jailbreakers facing criminal charges for altering their own property. The EFF rallied the community to sign a petition asking the U.S. Copyright Office to extend the jailbreaking exemption.

“The law was never intended to limit legal activity with a device that was legally bought,” Rebecca Jeschke, media relations director for EFF, told Mashable in January. “It’s not good policy for consumers.”

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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