iPhone users in the US have who have cribbed about AT&T’s network and service ever since the iPhone was launched almost 4 years back will finally be getting an opportunity to switch to another carrier when Verizon starts offering Apple’s iPhone in early February.
We thought it was high time to weigh the pros and cons of the Verizon iPhone that users should consider before jumping ship.
If you look at AT&T and Verizon’s coverage maps below, it’s difficult to figure out, which one is better.
AT&T’s coverage (it doesn’t differentiate between 2G or 3G coverage)
AT&T has also been working hard to improve its network and had increased its infrastructure spending by 10% in 2010. Industry observers have pointed out that while iPhone’s success may have crippled AT&T’s networks, it has also meant that the carrier is getting better equipped to handle heavy data usage, which has seen a 5000% increase in data traffic since the launch of the iPhone.
It also needs to be seen how Verizon’s handles the surge in data traffic. Verizon executives are quite confident that their network will be able to handle iPhone users. It will be fascinating to see the carriers fight it out for the iPhone customer.
Several surveys have ranked AT&T’s 3G Network as the nation’s fastest.
AT&T has been upgrading its network to offer faster wireless broadband speeds to its customers. AT&T customers have observed speeds of 6mbps, which is three times of what Verizon customers are likely to see.
Even though Verizon has taken the lead in deploying the faster 4G LTE network, it will be able to compete with AT&T on the speed front only when iPhone supports 4G networks, which is expected only in 2012.
Voice, SMS and Data plans:
Based on the Verizon iPhone pricing details briefly revealed by Apple, there is not much to choose between AT&T and Verizon’s voice and SMS plans for individual users. In case of family plans, Verizon offers more minutes than AT&T but charges $10 to $20 more for the packages.
Verizon has announced that it plans to offer its iPhone customers unlimited data plans for $30.
AT&T currently offers the following plans with data caps:
200MB of data for $15 per month. AT&T says this will be enough data to meet the needs of 65% of its smartphone users. If you go over the 200MB cap, AT&T will charge you $15 per 200MB if you go over the limit.
2GB of data for $25 per month. According to AT&T, only 2% of its smartphone customers manage to consume more than 2GB of data per month. AT&T will charge you $10 per GB if you go over the limit.
AT&T offers iPhone tethering for $20 per month, which is available only to customers who opt for the DataPro plan and users have to share the 2GB between your iPhone and their laptop.
Meanwhile, Verizon’s iPhone customers will be able to take advantage of the 3G wireless hotspot feature for an extra $20 per month on top of the voice and data plans. The mobile hotspot feature allows users to share iPhone’s data connection over Wi-fi to up to 5 mobile devices. Unlike AT&T’s iPhone tethering plan, the hotspot feature comes with its own 2GB monthly data pool, separate from iPhone’s data plan.
Verizon’s unlimited data plans will be a major selling point for users but we’ve heard reports that AT&T is quietly giving some of its iPhone customers the option to switch to unlimited data plan to stop them from switching to Verizon, which has been confirmed by some of our readers.
The CDMA iPhone 4 is identical to the GSM iPhone 4. It will get FaceTime video calling, the high-resolution Retina display, a 5-megapixel camera, HD video recording and all the other great features of GSM iPhone 4. However, there is one difference. Verizon’s CDMA network does not permit simultaneous voice and data transfer. Based on feedback from our readers, it seems to be a deal breaker for quite a few iPhone users as they are used to surfing the web while on a call.
Things to consider before switching to Verizon:
AT&T iPhone customers who are planning to switch to Verizon iPhone by terminating their contract with AT&T will have to pay an Early Termination Fee (ETF) of $325 (if you had purchased your iPhone before June 1 2010 then you will have to pay ETF of $175) minus $10 for each month that they were with AT&T.
So what do you plan to do? Do you plan to switch or buy Verizon iPhone? We would love to find out your reason/s for switching or for not switching as we’re sure it will be helpful to fellow readers, so please drop us a line in the comments below.
[images via Macworld]