With delicious rumors circulating recently about Apple goods finally coming to the Verizon faithful, I'm on the fence now more than ever about my impending iPhone purchase. You see, I must have one and it's only a matter of time before I do. My iPod Touch is fun for playing around with apps and hopping online via WiFi, but it's no Jesusphone. I've been a Verizon
prisoner customer ever since getting my first cell phone back in 2000. I don't particularly like Big Red (for reasons I'll happily delve into in a few paragraphs from now), but I never had a reason to jump ship until the iPhone landed on Planet Earth as an AT&T exclusive. Ever since, I've been plotting my exit strategy. Only, every time I'm about to pull the trigger, I hear from a friend about some annoying problem he or she is having with AT&T as it relates to the iPhone. Now, with whispers of some exciting new Apple devices reaching Verizon as early as 2010, I'm left pondering that eternal Combat Rock-ism: "Should I stay or should I go?"
Verizon and Apple have been in talks -- that much is fact. AT&T's exclusive on the iPhone runs out in 2010, so it makes perfect sense that Apple would be out there talking to other providers. It's estimated that the iPhone has added 7 million subscribers to AT&T's customer base since launch, so you can imagine how badly Verizon would want a piece of the pie. Not to mention how badly AT&T would want to hold onto it -- there have been reports that AT&T is lobbying Apple for an exclusivity extension through 2010.
The rumors -- supposedly backed up by "sources close to Apple" -- are that two completely new iPhone-like devices are being readied for Verizon. So, even if AT&T does lock down exclusivity on the iPhone for another year, it's completely feasible that these new devices would fall outside of the scope of that arrangement. The devices are rumored to be a smaller "iPhone Lite" and a larger-screened tablet that's been compared to an eReader. Both are expected to run on Verizon's future next-gen LTE network, and not on the current CDMA infrastructure.
Now I'm in a tough spot. Do I hold out to see if any of these rumors materialize? I could be waiting two years for nothing. Or, do I resolve to become an AT&T customer? Do I really want to deal with the hassle of switching providers? And what if I switch and I completely hate AT&T? Either way, I'm hopping into bed with the lesser of two evils.
As I said, I'm not a big fan of Verizon. The lack of a SIM card has been a point of contention since day one -- seriously, would it have been such a hard technology to adopt? I've had at least five or six phones on Verizon since first signing up in 2000, and I learned early on (after a phone completely crapped out on me) to keep a hard copy of all of my contacts either on my computer or on a handwritten list. What a pain it is to re-enter them every time I get a new phone. Even on my current Bluetooth-equipped handset (the craptacular LG Voyager), I was forced to sync contacts over from my Mac one-by-one. A SIM card would have provided instant gratification. (I should mention that Verizon does offer a backup and restore service for contacts and other phone settings, but it costs $2 per month. No thanks.)
Verizon likes to have too much control over its handsets. On most devices, you can't do a damn thing without doing it through Verizon's "Get It Now" service. Email, Web surfing, GPS, photos, videos, ringtones, etc -- it's all on complete lockdown, requiring you to pay Verizon for the privilege of using these "extras." Until recently, Verizon all but completely crippled Bluetooth on most of its phones to prevent users from doing something as simple as, oh I don't know, transferring a photo over from a computer to use as wallpaper. If the iPhone had initially launched on Verizon, you can bet the App Store would never have happened. Of course, after seeing AT&T's success with Apple, it's no surprise Verizon might be willing to loosen up a bit.
I have a few other beefs with Verizon. How about the fact that my CDMA phone is a useless brick in all but a few international travel spots? On my last trip to England I had to shell out for a pre-pay phone just to make sure I wasn't missing any important messages. Then there's the deviousness the company recently demonstrated when it attempted to make a change to its policies regarding the sharing of customer information. Verizon Wireless subscribers (at least, those who receive their bills via mail) had a barely noticeable leaflet tucked into their statements notifying them that their personal information could now be shared unless they explicitly opted out by a certain date. Bogus. Finally, there's the Verizon Wireless "Can You Hear Me Now?" guy, who regular readers of this column know I've taken a particular loathing to. I'm not sure exactly why he ruffles my feathers so much, but the mere sight of that dude makes me want to forever pledge my allegiance to AT&T.
Of course, AT&T isn't without its problems, particularly when it comes to the iPhone. My biggest worry with AT&T, and the main reason I've remained in Verizon's corner, is coverage. AT&T has Verizon beat when it comes to international coverage, but in my experience Verizon wallops AT&T domestically. In the almost 10 years I've been a Verizon customer, I've never had a problem getting a signal whether I'm in the canyons of New York City or roughing it in the boonies (the only exception being a mysterious dead zone somewhere in Connecticut along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor). I'll be in the same location with friends who aren't able to get T-Mobile, Sprint or AT&T service, and I'll be able to make and receive calls on my Verizon phone, no problem. Every time I think it's time to ditch Verizon, this is the one thought that holds me back.
I've also noticed AT&T's difficulty in getting its signal to penetrate buildings. Again, my phone will work perfectly, but a guy using an iPhone in the same room will have no service. A friend of mine claims that his coverage comes in bursts when he's at the office. Every few hours he'll receive a bunch of text messages at once, all which had been sent earlier in the day. Now, that kind of defeats the immediacy of the medium, doesn't it?
My only other gripe with AT&T might seem small time, but it would drive me bonkers. I recently had an iPhone-equipped colleague over to my house, and as we hovered over my computer working on something together, my speakers would make this strange buzzing sound every time he received an email or text, and preceding every phone call. I just wouldn't be able to deal with that all day.
Aside from international coverage and my whole SIM card stickup, AT&T's biggest advantage over Verizon is the two-year head start it's had on the iPhone's bugs, glitches and growing pains. If these two mystery devices do ever show up on the Verizon network, I expect we'll see a lot of the same problems AT&T experienced -- especially with the launch of the iPhone 3G. What's more, I can go out and get an iPhone on AT&T today. Right now it's not a question of when these new Apple devices will be available to Verizon customers; it's a question of if they ever will at all, or if they're just the latest bits of gossip churned out by the infamously imaginative Apple rumor mill. Then, if they do actually ever launch, it's likely they'll only function on Verizon's embryonic LTE network, which will only be in the baby stages of deployment through 2010. So, if Apple ever does makes a pact with Verizon, it'll still be a nice long wait before any devices come to market. And besides, I want an iPhone -- not a tablet or a half-an-iPhone.
In the end, I'm no closer to pulling the trigger on my iPhone procurement than I was 1,395 words ago. So, I'd love to hear what you think. Should I jump in and switch? Should I hold out? Are there any crimes against humanity committed by either AT&T or Verizon that I neglected to mention? Please share!
Backup Assistant is free for My Verizon customersThe $1.99 monthly fee that you are asked to accept will be waived as long as you remain a My Verizon customer
Well I won’t ever get an iPhone as long as it’s run on ATT’s network because when it’s all said and done for the monthly price you pay I’d expect NO technical issues, whether with the phone or the network.
Plus I tend to steer clear of ATT because they really do seem to be the most expensive; of course I have no factual proof.
But it sounds like it comes down to do you want an iPhone or a superior domestic network?
For me, having experienced one of those moments when a cell phone was my life line I’ll stick with the superior domestic network.
If you go with the iPhone either way the SIM card becomes pointless since you can't open up the iPhone, so in retrospect that dosen't really matter if your sole purpose is for the iphone. The buzzing may be annoying if its your buddy's phone, but if you look at perspective the light buzz telling you that you have a call or text coming in at least gives you a soft notice if you have a sharp ring tone, or one that gets on your nerves after a while. I'm biased because I also used to work for AT&T or actually Cingular before they simply repainted themselves. In all honesty nothing changed, just the name, not like when Cingular bought AT&T. However what I always hated about Verizon were the locked in operating systems generic on all phones, and the fact that they locked bluetooth down to only being able to pair with an earpiece. In otherwords if I wanted to connect two phones together through bluetooth and send unlocked ring tones and pictures I could do it easily and quickly on AT&T phones. Which also works when connecting to a computer with bluetooth. This may have changed in the last year, but last I was aware the only use for bluetooth on Verizon was still for the wireless earpiece.
Check this out
Yeah with verizon you need to get creative.
Their free application lets you send a lot of things to your verizon or any phone (ringtones, wallpapers, videos) through a text message.
And yeah what that first guy said - backup assistant is free and quite useful.
I've never heard the buzzing from either my verizon lg phone , or my iphone, but my nextel used to cause static over my speakers whenever i was getting a call or i drove in/ out of coverage in my work van, even with the radio off. I assume it was the brain cancer causing waves. I've had one issue with my iphone, the battery fried after six weeks. After a trip to the apple store, and five minutes with a genius tech , I walked out with a new phone. My only gripe with that process was, I had to go home to sync my phone to get my contacts back (they couldn't/ wouldn't do it in the store).
Here's my solution to your dilemma:
You should move to Hawaii and get your iPhone.
Hawaii has the best 3G reception anywhere in the nation (from personal experience), either that or the lack of 3G handsets allow for a stronger signal for each individual user.
I feel the exact same, I as well got my first cell phone when I was 16 in 2000 and have forever been with Verizon. There is really no other phone like the iphone! The internet capabilities, plus the endless amounts of apps!
A friend of mine who works for Verizon told me today it was announced the iPhone will be available through Verizon in 2011, just enough time to get a Blackberry Curve (the best Verizon has to offer right now) and be able to upgrade by the time the iphone comes!
My honest opinion is you couldn't pay me to go back and give Cingular another chance. I had them for 5 years, from 00-05, and never had service, always dropped calls, and don't even get me started on the CS department(or lack there of). I have been with Verizon for 2 years now and absolutely love them. And there are plenty of hackers out there to provide you with the knowledge to bypass the locked down Verizon network. I have the HTC mogul, which was originally on lock down, now I have Live search and can do basically what ever I want with it. The only thing I like better about the IPhone is the web browser. But Opera and Skyfire seem to be coming along way, so soon I think they will give us something better. After being with Cingular for 5 years, Sprint/Nextel for 2, and now Verizon for 2, I wouldn't trade Verizon for anything. The only thing that aggravates me about them is it seems like they are more expensive than the competitors, but still the service out weights all, IMVHO. If the Iphone comes to Verizon, so be it, if not - I will have the touch pro2 (or if you don't want the QWERTY keyboard you can get the Touch HD.). But all in all, I am not giving up the Verizon network for that crap ATT calls service.
I've had Verizon for 2 and a half years now and my worst experience was getting the run around a couple times. I absolutely love the great coverage. Last year we went camping and while my friends on AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile had no service, I had three bars and chatted it up surronded by angry faces.
I have been with Verizon for about over 5 years now and have very few complaints. The coverage area is amazing, well at least compared to AT&T. Verizon locked some stuff out of older phones, but some of the newer phones don't have that problem.
I just got a Blackberry Storm and after a leaked OS update, it runs way smooth. Best smartphone Verizon has at the moment (only with a leaked OS update though).
great post and I'm in the same boat with you. You were talking about Verizon and backing up your contacts and I know for a fact that you can use the Backup Assistant program for free if you have an account online with the Verizon My Account thing. Normally yes the mothly price for it is like $2.99 but it's waived like i said above. It's really good for automatically backing up and downloading your contacts along with putting it on a schedule. I thought that was just a small bit of info you would like to know. Thanks
As a customer who has had both Verizon and AT&T, I can tell you that neither is perfect. Both have serious issues. However, after weighing both, I am MUCH more satisfied with Verizon.
Verizon, unfortunately, has a major flaw in their business plan. They have committed themselves to a model of charging their customers for every conceivable service. The most notorious example of this might be the Blackberry 8830. The 8830 world phone, by the way, WILL work overseas with the addition of a pre-paid SIM card. Verizon chose to use their carrier status to disable the onboard GPS chip and antenna built into the 8830, to prevent their customers from using a feature free to phone owners on other networks, instead offering the less-accurate, tower triangulation based VzNavigator service, for a monthly fee. Later firmware upgrades allow VzNavigator to use the more accurate onboard chip, but still lock out all other applications.
Despite this major flaw in their approach to their customers, they beat AT&T severely in the department of customer service. I have had similar problems with both carriers needing to be resolved by customer service. In both cases, major errors were made to my plan package when I moved to the carrier, leading to outrageous bills. In the case of AT&t, it took me 30-40 minutes just to get a customer service rep on the phone, to be bounced from department to department, to even GET someone who could adjust the bill and correct the plan. The bill was successfully adjusted, but the plan was not, forcing me to repeat this cycle on three separate billing cycles, waiting for the bills to arrive each time. Throughout the process, not one of the customer service people was pleasant.
With Verizon, I was able to get a real person on the phone in 2-5 minutes. They were pleasant. They immediately adjusted my bill and the service plan. Unfortunately, the did it wrong the first time. A second call was again answered quickly, by a pleasant customer service rep. I explained the situation to her, and she went back and did detailed research, figuring out the changes previously made, a well as what packages were available when I bought the phones. About 15 minutes later, she was explaining what had been done previously, and what she would need to do to fix it. She then told me that she would have to go back and re-adjust previous bills, above and beyond the bill I was concerned with, and that the process would take her 45 minutes or so, at which time she would call me back with the amount of all of the credits. Promptly, 45 minutes later, she called back, told me the amount of my credits and my current amount due, and arranged a follow up call for after my next bill arrived to make sure that the problem did not re-occur.
A month or so later, I received a request for an e-mail survey from Verizon. While I never fill such things out, I filled it out as a lark, giving the positives and negatives of the customer service experience. One day later, I got a personal phone call from their west coast regional sales manager.
Additionally, I have much better coverage with Verizon in rural areas than I did with AT&T.
The point of this long response is that, while no telecom provider is ideal, in my own experience, Verizon, warts and all, is much easier to deal with as a customer, and I think that they take customer service very seriously. I am hoping that seeing the success AT&T and others are having with UNLOCKED devices such as the I-Phone, they will learn to stop barring features from their customers, and then they may finally get everything right.
A little comment about the LTE Network. Both AT&T and Verizon are planning on going to this network. I believe this will be the standard for 4G by 2012. Sprint will be starting out using a different slower network type, but then will be moving to LTE eventually. This will be replacing both CDMA and LTE. I've also read that since this will be completely data it will be much more open than 3G is at this point. Those are just rumors, but it would make it more difficult to have exclusivity contracts.
I have been with Verizon continuously since way BEFORE they were Verizon even before "bag" phones became available. The reason I've stayed with VZW is they always provide a MUCH higher level of service than any other wireless provider. My crew has an assortment of different wireless phone companies and they are always asking to use my phone because it works where ever we are.
My company bought all the managers AT&T phones and most of us have given them back, they don't work 1/2 the time. We can't get a signal and / or it drops calls consistently.
Have I had issues with Verizon? Yes, but they ALWAYS fix the issues and usually on the first call. Connecting with customer service has never taken more than a couple / three minutes.
Now, for the other guys. I've had service with AT&T, Sprint T-mobile and others but always held onto my Verizon because in the long haul, they are always there for me. All the others have let me down with lousy customer service and lousy connectivity starting with T-mobile & Sprint being the worst followed closely by AT&T.
Does this sound like a paid ad for Verizon, probably but they keep me happy so why not? Yes, I pay a premium for the service but you get what you pay for!
You don't have to open the iPhone to get to the SIM card. There's a slot on the top next to the power button you release with a paperclip. It's so flush you don't even know it's there. How do I know? I had to replace mine (stuff happens, sometimes it's Apples fault and sometimes it ain't). All I had to do was swap the SIM cards, sync it with iTunes and I was back up without missing a beat. Every time you sync your phone gets backed up automatically. Anyway, if they couldn't swap the SIM card it wouldn't be very useful in Europe.
I personally feel like Verizon and ATT are like being in between a rock and a hard place! I went with the Storm myself thinking it had all the features right the iphone could not offer? It has been a pain in the arse since day 1, although it got allot better after SP1.
Both ATT and Verizon nickle and dime you horribly, and should be a crime! For unlimited service on the BB plan my storm runs $200/mo!!! In a world where normal phones are $99/unlimited it seems crazy to be paying just for having the better device?
I have used EVERY American phone provider, and for the price T-Mobile is by far better! They don't offer the coverage of ATT and Verizon, but customer service and for the $$$ I am switching back to them and changing to the Curve 2.
Although it does not support 3G, I have tested the curve 2 and seems very reliable, and offers the features E-Mail, Contacts, etc. I need....
Oh and did I mention I got 2 curve 2's on an unlimited BB Plan for the same costs as my unlimited plan on the STORM!
"The unexamined life is not worth living"
- The Soc
I currently have an iPhone, and my service is great, i usually have 3-5 bars everywhere i go. I don't travel much, so i don't know if it's different elsewhere. However i noticed that my other friends with At&t had varying reception between different phones. Ultimately it depends on where you live/travel to, and what phone you have. Also, i have never had problems with At&t's customer service, any rare problem i have had was successfully resolved within 5 minutes.
Heres how I see it,
AT&T: Ok coverage, gotcha covered when it comes to worldwide coverage. They also have alot of cool phones including the iPhone.
Verizon: Has great coverage in the US, not as great outside of it. Has some cool phones too.
To sum it up:
If your someone who does not travel alot and not really a business person, then go with AT&T.
If your a bussiness person or you travel alot then go with verizon.
What did you mean the leaked OS update on the Storm?
My biggest gripe concerning AT&T and the iPhone is that you can't tether it, and even if you could, you would be very dissapointed with AT&Ts broadband performance vs. Verizon. Yet, you still get to pay for it. The iPhone is nice, but the laptop is still better for good, old fasioned, sit down web browsing. Almost any bottom of the pile Verizon flip phone will let you do that. For my money I am happy with a phone that just makes phone calls AND lets my computer do things that will always blow any iThing away.
I think we should both jump ship to AT&T. I am in the same boat as you. I have an iPod Touch and a Pocket PC phone with Qwest. I absolutely love them both. But if I could have the iPhone on my own network, I would buy it right now. But somebody stole my iPod yesterday, and Qwest is switching to Verizon in October. So do I wait and see if Verizon will get an iPhone? Even if they get an iPhone Lite, will it have all the same features as the iPhone? Two years is a long time to wait. Even one year stinks. I already have the same issues with Qwest that AT&T customers are complaining about. So what's the big difference if I switch, when I can at least get the device I want?
I say, take the plunge.
I have had my iPhone now for almost a year since the 3G came out. I switched from Sprint and have never been happier. Not only do I have a phone which does everything and it does everything quickly and easily, I have had great service from ATT.
My iPhone has great coverage everywhere I go although some small towns or between town areas don't have 3G. I'm a pilot and travel a lot. The crews I fly with that have Verizon find they can't get a signal in the lower areas of some of the airports like DFW where mine works fine.
I have had trouble understanding my bill 2 or 3 times and called customer service at ATT. I got through to them quick and they did a good job helping me. They were even friendly.
No device I've seen comes close to what my iPhone does, and so far, knock on wood the ATT experience has been really good too.
One of the absolute main reasons to NOT get an Apple product is because of their absolute horrible customer service. If your read their fine print you pretty much only et a 90 day warranty on and Iphone. During that 90 days you are privy to as many tech support queries as you like. Oh but after that 90 days is up, you better believe they are going to charge you each time you need help. Just to give you an example a friend of mine was having a problem with his iphone. He tried getting help through ATT which could not resolve the issue. They suggested he get in touch with Apple. Now that in itself is kind of crappy also but that is not the point right now. So he tries his best to try and call Apple. Oh no! Getting a phone number for tech support was in itself almost a miracle. After he finally was able to get someone, they stated that he was no longer eligible for tech support because his phone was older than 90 days. They then asked if he would like to purchase additional support. Purchase additional support? Are you freaking kidding me?
Well after all this I did not think too much about it as I was never really interested in an Iphone. But...my family does happen to own a few Ipods. Well low and behold in the middle of April we start having trouble with an Ipod that was purchased in December as a christmas present. I kind of had forgotten about my buddy's problem with his Iphone because it had been sometime ago close to when they first came out. But I soon remembered his incident after we were finally able to get someone. They stated the equipment was over 90 days old and that I could purchase tech support for the low price of just 29.99 hmmm...after spending 300 bucks for the darn thing to begin with and have it not work right after just 5 months and then they want more money to give you some help. THAT IS COMPLETE CRAP!!! That is terrible business if you ask me. I will never buy another Apple product again.
Actually, there is a sim card that will go into the iphone, because i have one and i have taken it out and put it back in easily. also i think you should go with AT&T :) it is better, and the iphone is your dream phone, and it is really awesome
Need to mention that AT&T announced yesterday that they are reviewing making changes to current IPhone service because as they put it it IPhone users are overloading there network.They are considering limiting usage or increasing $ cost.below is qoute.
CNET) Marguerite Reardon of CNET News.com wrote this article.
AT&T wants its iPhone users to use less wireless data, and it may consider new pricing models to curb users' data usage as it tries to keep up with growing demand.
At an investor conference in New York on Wednesday, Ralph de la Vega, AT&T's head of wireless, said the wiireless operator is considering incentives to get consumers to reduce their data usage. De la Vega said 3 percent of smartphone users are consuming 40 percent of the network capacity.
"We're going to try to focus on making sure we give incentives to those small percentages to either reduce or modify their usage so they don't crowd out the other customers in those same cell sites," said de la Vega according to a transcript of the conference. "And you'll see us address that more in detail."
Complete article can be read at Cnet
"What's driving usage on the network and driving these high usage situations are things like video, or audio that keeps playing around the clock," he said, according to the transcript provided by AT&T. "And so we've got to get to those customers and have them recognize that they need to change their pattern, or there will be other things that they are going to have to do to reduce their usage."
AT&T has been struggling to keep up with demand for wireless-data usage on its network. The iPhone, launched more than two years ago, has revolutionized mobile Web usage. The device, which was built more for accessing the Net than making calls, can access more than 100,000 applications, many of which use the mobile Internet.
iPhone users on average consume five to seven times more data per month than average wireless subscribers, according to analyst firm Sanford Bernstein. And all this usage is clogging the network, causing many iPhone users, especially in large cities such as New York and San Francisco, to experience dropped calls, slow 3G service, and issues connecting to the network at all.
you see i think you hit on all the major points that most people seem to miss. let me say this, as an iphone owner and former verizion subscriber, AT&T is not the greatest, however if your not moving too far out of an area with coverage, the coverage is great, no complaints, its when you get too far out of the populated areas that it gets a little patchy.but the bottom line is that Verizion WILL eventually come to an agreement with apple on a handset, how soon im not sure, however, AT&T will never lose its contract with them also, and in the future will construct a service similar to VZ's LTE. so if you switch now you will always be able to have the iphone, and eventually service comparable to VZ. All in all, the lack of service with ATT isn't so terrible, and having an amazing phone is well worth sacrificing on the service.
Funny to read these comments now, several years later. 4G LTE is out, AT&T has tried hard to improve customer service and some say it has succeeded, and the iPhone 5 is pending! Wow. As a graphics designer (I'm in Austin) I can't imagine where I'd be without all ths new technology.