So the iPhone is finally coming to Verizon. I have to confess, one of the thoughts that crossed my mind is that I stand a chance to be proven entirely wrong by something I have been saying (usually with the “it’s quite possible that…” or “I suspect that…” without a firm commitment of knowledge that I do not have) for quite some time now. AT&T’s network doesn’t suck so much as the iPhone sucks as a phone (you know those famous dropped calls? Never happened to me… but I never had an iPhone) and/or consumes so much data that it would be hard for any network to keep up. If the Verizon iPhone seriously outperforms the AT&T iPhone, I will be proven wrong.

Apparently, some people on the other side of the debate – those that believe that Apple can do no wrong and every problem that the iPhone has is AT&T’s fault – are going through similar second thoughts.

Granted, most of this doesn’t actually address the dropped call issue. Even so, suddenly The World’s Worst Carrier is having upsides when compared to The World’s Best Carrier. AT&T offers simultaneous voice and data, which Verizon doesn’t. Verizon’s plans are more expensive. AT&T’s tiered data plan – which was previously proof that AT&T was evil – can save you even more money vis-a-vis Verizon unless you’re a hard-core user*. Verizon doesn’t do international well (and won’t at all with the iPhone) And, of course, Verizon’s network isn’t perfect, though only Manjoo will come out and say so.

I carry no brief for AT&T. I was a satisfied customer for many years, but now I am a satisfied Verizon customer. Because of the deal we get through Clancy’s work, we don’t even pay more for Verizon than I would through AT&T. Truth be told, when our contract is up and AT&T is in the area (which they should be soon and almost certainly will be a year from April), I don’t know whether we will stay or switch. I had considered switching back to AT&T as soon as they came to town and simply paying the early-termination fee, but at this point I am skeptical that we will.

All of that being said, both AT&T and Verizon have their plusses and minuses. It’s Verizon, not AT&T, that refuses to activate any phone that isn’t theirs. It’s Verizon, not AT&T, that mandated data plans first (and AT&T’s has huge loophole that they don’t seem to have any interest in closing). But it’s Verizon and not AT&T that works out a lot of deals with employers and the like for better prices.

AT&T took a lot of flack when they sued over Verizon’s commercial with the maps. And Verizon’s maps were entirely accurate. However, they were also misleading. AT&T’s 3G coverage isn’t remarkably wide, but the map leads one to the impression that AT&T’s data coverage is weak. It’s not. The main difference is that with AT&T, a whole lot of those areas not covered by 3G are covered by slower data service. With Verizon, it’s 3G or nothing. Any place you don’t see on the map, the best you can ask for is “1X” which means that you can text message but that’s about it. AT&T was stupid about suing over a (technically) accurate ad, but their claims about being misleading were not entirely false. Speaking is misleading, though, AT&T’s ads about being the “fastest 3G network” are technically accurate, but are also misleading in the sense that they assume a completely wide and free network. With all of those iPhone users (and perhaps even if you discount them) the average user, unless they’re alone and beside a tower, is going to get slower speeds with AT&T than with Verizon.

In any event, if Verizon’s adoption of the iPhone goes off without a hitch and all of those people complaining about dropped calls start talking about how much greater Verizon is, I pledge to post that I was indeed wrong. It’s been known to happen, from time to time.

* – The author of the first piece (courtesy Wesley) actually says something incorrect. You can’t get $15/mo from Verizon unless you have a web phone, which is dumber than a smartphone but smarter than a regular phone. There was a brief window where they offered a tier as an “introductory” sort of thing, but that was discontinued and current users will not be grandfathered in when their contract expires. Regarding the tiers, I use web on my phone with regularity and I have yet to cross the 200mb barrier. Only about a third of users do. Besides which, even if you stay within the 2GB barrier, which all but less than 5% do, you’re still saving $5 a month. It’s only those that go over that are paying ($10) more. On the other hand, Verizon is planning to switch to AT&T-style tiered pricing.

Category: Market

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2 Responses to The Ver-iPhone

  1. David Alexander says:

    I’m rather tempted to go with the iPhone for right now. Conceptually, I see it as a way to combine my iPod Touch and a cellphone together in the same device. Since I have some apps and downloaded music from iTunes, I’m admittedly stuck with Apple inertia. Mind you, I’ll stay with Verizon because it tends to be have the best coverage where I live right now and from a plain phone caller perspective, I like having the security of knowing that I can get a signal in the rural hinterlands where I’ve seen other people’s networks crap out.

    Otherwise, I’d go T-Mobile and buy an unlocked phone. 🙂

  2. trumwill says:

    Out west, AT&T’s coverage and Verizon’s seem both to be relatively on-par in rural areas. AT&T relies a little more on partner towers, but as long as you’re passing through it’s not really a problem.

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