Does It Cost Extra To Have Cellular On Apple Watch

by Barbara Wilson

The Apple Watch, since its inception, has been a revolutionary product in the wearable tech industry. One of the standout features introduced in recent iterations is cellular connectivity. This feature allows users to make calls, send texts, and use data without the need for an iPhone nearby. However, as with many advanced features, this comes with additional costs and considerations. This article aims to provide a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the costs associated with having cellular on an Apple Watch.


What Is Cellular on Apple Watch?

The cellular feature on the Apple Watch enables it to function independently from the iPhone for certain tasks. Equipped with an eSIM, the Apple Watch can connect to cellular networks directly, allowing for phone calls, messages, streaming music, and more, even when the iPhone is not nearby.


Benefits of Cellular Connectivity

Independence from iPhone: Users can leave their iPhone at home and still remain connected.


Emergency Situations: Cellular Apple Watches can call for help even if the user doesn’t have their iPhone.


Convenience: For activities like running or cycling, users can stay connected without carrying a bulky phone.

Initial Cost of a Cellular Apple Watch

Price Difference

Apple offers both GPS-only and GPS + Cellular models of their Apple Watch. The GPS + Cellular models are typically more expensive than their GPS-only counterparts. The price difference can range from $50 to $100 depending on the model and configuration.

Model Comparison

Apple Watch Series 7:

GPS: Starting at $399

GPS + Cellular: Starting at $499

Apple Watch SE:

GPS: Starting at $279

GPS + Cellular: Starting at $329

Apple Watch Ultra:

GPS + Cellular: Starting at $799 (only available in this configuration)

Monthly Service Fees

Carrier Plans

To use the cellular features on an Apple Watch, you must add the device to your cellular plan. This incurs an additional monthly fee.

AT&T: $10 per month

Verizon: $10 per month

T-Mobile: $10 per month

Sprint: $15 per month

Activation Fees

Some carriers may charge a one-time activation fee when you first add your Apple Watch to your cellular plan. These fees can range from $10 to $30 depending on the carrier.

Factors Influencing Costs

Carrier Promotions

Carriers often run promotions that can reduce or waive the initial setup fees or offer discounted monthly rates for a limited period.

Family Plans

Some carriers offer family plans where multiple devices can share a single cellular plan. Adding an Apple Watch to such plans might be cheaper than individual plans.

Bundled Services

Occasionally, carriers may bundle services such as streaming subscriptions with the cellular plan for your Apple Watch, adding value without increasing costs significantly.

Hidden Costs

Data Usage

While the monthly fee covers the cellular service, data usage can lead to additional charges if it exceeds the allotted data plan for your account.

Roaming Charges

Using the Apple Watch cellular features while traveling internationally can incur roaming charges unless you have an international plan.

Insurance and Protection Plans

Ensuring your cellular Apple Watch against damage or theft may add to the overall cost. AppleCare+ for Apple Watch offers coverage but comes with its own fee.

Alternatives to Cellular Connectivity

Wi-Fi Connectivity

Apple Watches can connect to known Wi-Fi networks, allowing for some functions to be used without the iPhone nearby and without incurring cellular costs.

Bluetooth Connectivity

Staying connected to your iPhone via Bluetooth ensures full functionality without additional costs, though this requires keeping your iPhone within a certain range.

See Also: Where To See Apple Watch Battery Health

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Who Should Opt for Cellular?

Active Users: Those who frequently engage in outdoor activities without their iPhone.

Professionals: Individuals who need to stay connected at all times.

Safety Concerns: Users who want an additional layer of security for emergency situations.

Who Should Stick to GPS?

Casual Users: Those who primarily use their Apple Watch for fitness tracking and notifications.

Budget-Conscious Users: Individuals looking to avoid additional monthly fees.

Homebound Users: Users who are often near their iPhone or Wi-Fi networks.

Real-World Usage Scenarios

Fitness Enthusiasts

For runners, cyclists, and outdoor adventurers, having cellular connectivity on their Apple Watch means they can track their activities, listen to music, and stay connected without their iPhone weighing them down.

Busy Professionals

Professionals who need to be reachable at all times can benefit from the cellular Apple Watch, especially during meetings or when their iPhone might be inconvenient to use.

Parents and Guardians

Parents can use the Family Setup feature to set up Apple Watches for their children, allowing them to stay in touch without providing a full-fledged smartphone.


Adding cellular connectivity to your Apple Watch does come with additional costs, both upfront and ongoing. However, the benefits of increased independence, convenience, and safety can outweigh these costs for many users. By understanding the specific expenses involved and considering your own needs and usage patterns, you can make an informed decision about whether the cellular Apple Watch is the right choice for you.

FAQ Section

How much more does a cellular Apple Watch cost compared to a GPS-only model?

Typically, a cellular Apple Watch costs $50 to $100 more than the GPS-only version, depending on the model.

What is the monthly cost to add an Apple Watch to a cellular plan?

Most carriers charge around $10 per month to add an Apple Watch to a cellular plan.

Are there any one-time activation fees for setting up cellular on Apple Watch?

Yes, some carriers charge a one-time activation fee, usually ranging from $10 to $30.

Can I use a cellular Apple Watch internationally without extra charges?

Using cellular features internationally can incur roaming charges unless you have an international plan with your carrier.

Do all carriers offer the same price for adding an Apple Watch to a cellular plan?

No, prices can vary slightly between carriers, and some may offer promotions or bundled services that affect the cost.

Can I use my Apple Watch without cellular connectivity?

Yes, Apple Watches can connect to known Wi-Fi networks and use Bluetooth to stay connected to your iPhone.

Is cellular connectivity on Apple Watch worth the extra cost?

This depends on your usage. For active users, professionals, and those who value added safety, the benefits can justify the additional cost. For casual users, the GPS-only model may suffice.

By weighing the pros and cons and considering the associated costs, you can determine if the cellular feature on the Apple Watch is a worthwhile investment for your lifestyle.


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