What happened to data sims for tablets?

Hardware

Last year I bought a iPad Mini 6 to read manga, light novels, books, newspapers, and RSS at coffee shops and the sofa. I find iOS frustrating for productive work, but it’s fine in this role.

(Transferring books to it has become more frustrating since it decided not to mount or appear on macOS anymore, meaning tedious use of a third party server to upload/download from. But that’s for another post).

I opted for the version with mobile support, but ended up tethering off my phone instead. Weirdly though, my iPhone SE 3 has been much flakier than my iPhone 8 in this regard, with multiple attempts to tether often going nowhere. It’s the same experience with the MacBook Air, and my FreeBSD Panasonic Let’s Note.

I assumed I could go to our Australian telco and get an extra SIM to share Clara’s and my shared mobile plan, or get a separate data SIM. The former was way too expensive to justify for a bit of convenience, and the latter doesn’t exist anymore, unless you want to go the pre-paid route.

Australian telcos have always sucked, especially after coming back from Singapore. But was the situation always like this? I swear I could get an affordable data SIM a few years ago.

I miss services like AvantGo that would let me download news and books automatically before heading out. An iPad-sized Tungsten running classic PalmOS and AvantGo would be wonderful.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Hi!

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