Apple Watch Series 3 LTE Doesn't Work With Prepaid Wireless Plans

Customers who want to purchase an LTE Apple Watch Series 3 model will need a postpaid plan to enable LTE connectivity, meaning it won't be available to those who use prepaid cellular plans. Prepaid plans are often more affordable, but don't support the number sharing features the Apple Watch Series 3 requires.

On AT&T's website, for example, the company says Apple Watch Series 3 connectivity requires the NumberSync feature. NumberSync, which allows one phone number to be used for multiple devices, requires a postpaid wireless account.


Apple Watch Series 3 models on Verizon use the NumberShare feature to allow Apple Watch users to accept calls on either device. NumberShare requires a "standard monthly plan" to work. On T-Mobile, the Apple Watch uses the DIGITS number sharing feature, not available to prepaid customers.

Sprint's website only lists an "active handset" as a requirement, but Fortune this week received word that all four carriers will require a standard monthly plan, including Sprint. Regular monthly plans will be needed for all customers who want an LTE Apple Watch.

Because the Apple Watch Series 3 does not get its own phone number, there's a second requirement on all carriers -- a cellular plan that already includes an iPhone 6 or later.

Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all plan to charge customers $10 per month to add an LTE Apple Watch to their accounts. Three of the four, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon will be waiving their activation fees, and all are offering three free months of connectivity either up front or through service credits.

The LTE Apple Watch became available for pre-order last night, and the first orders will begin arriving to customers on Friday, September 22, the official launch date for the device. Pricing on the LTE Apple Watch Series 3 starts at $399.


Top Rated Comments

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12 months ago
For a watch that was supposed to give you all kinds of freedom with cellular, it sure has a lot of restrictions on it.
Rating: 35 Votes
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12 months ago
This paying an extra 10 bucks a month is pissing me off. I’m not upgrading my series 0 just for that reason.
Rating: 22 Votes
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12 months ago
It’s just stupid. ONE carrier could have said, “ AW 3 connectivity? Free on our network!”

How many people would have instantly switched their phone contract, right when they are ordering a new phone and watch to go with it for that?
Rating: 16 Votes
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12 months ago
It's ridiculous that it should cost extra at all.

* It shares the same number as the iPhone it's linked to
* It is not going to be using data (via LTE) at the same time as the iPhone it's linked to is using data
* It shares the iPhone's data limits
* It costs the networks nothing to enable this; they don't even have to provide a SIM!

A rort which Apple should have sorted out before announcing the thing.

2017 will be the first year I *don't* buy any new Apple hardware.
Rating: 14 Votes
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12 months ago
I’m loving my series 1. I hope by series 4 or 5 the carriers get their act together a little better.
Rating: 14 Votes
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12 months ago
Makes sense. If it's prepaid, where's the greedy $10 come from?
Rating: 8 Votes
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12 months ago
If only we still had Steve and his negotiation hammer.
Rating: 7 Votes
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12 months ago

I’m loving my series 1. I hope by series 4 or 5 the carriers get their act together a little better.

Step one would be allowing you to share your airtime/data allotment between your iPhone and AppleWatch without any extra monthly upcharge for the cellular enabled AppleWatch. After all you're not likely to be using both at the same time.

And as they're not providing any Sim card for the Watch or incurring any other extra costs, all they should be charging is a nominal activation fee for AW3 purchasers to start using and enjoying their devices.

Heaven knows, the carriers will eventually probably end up getting more $$ from those subscribers anyway due to the likelihood of gradually increasing bandwidth usage by such multiple device users.
Rating: 7 Votes
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12 months ago
eSIM sounds good in theory but apparently has a ton of limitations. You should just be able to add data to your Apple Watch, separate from any iPhone you may or may not own.

One day...
Rating: 6 Votes
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12 months ago
It sounds petty, but I was totally down for a cell Apple Watch when people were talking about it being. $5 add on. More than that is where I draw the line considering I wouldn't use data on it THAT much. Some music streaming and replying to a few texts when I'm at the gym does not need to cost THAT much when you're using my existing data plan.
Rating: 5 Votes
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