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How to access 3G on Ipad in Italy/Switzerland?

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I'm not sure which forum to post this one. It's more a technology savvy question and there does not seem to be a technology forum for it.

OK - I'm new to the idea of Ipad. Babe in the woods. Thinking of travelling with an Ipad. I don't have a smartphone and will be using my existing old 3G mobile. I only ever use it as prepaid only. Intend to purchase a pre-paid SIM in Italy for my mobile. I'm Australian.

I think an Ipad would be useful for email contact to/from Australia, checking/managing hotel bookings, managing banking.

As I understand it Ipads are purchased with WIFI or WIFI +3G. As I understand it 3G would relieve the frustration of not being able to connect WIFI. With regards to 3G Apple site speaks of being sure to select the Ipad which matches the carrier you will be using - they mention AT& T or Verizon. Does this mean that I need to sign up to use either of these carriers to be able to use the Ipad? I understand that short term plans can be selected. Or is it a case that I can simply use the prepaid SIM that I purchase for my mobile? If so how do I decide which Ipad to buy for compatibility with Italian carrier? It's all a mystery to me.

Hope this question does not turn your hair as grey as mine has become.
Any advice appreciated.
Thanks

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