Thursday, February 03, 2011

Verizon iPhone tops AT&T iPhone in reliability, not speed

I have not had a chance to get my grubby little hands on the Verizon iPhone, but some journalists have had the opportunity to test the VeriPhone for a few weeks and the results are pretty much the same:

AT&T is faster in download speeds for data (webpages, email) but Verizon is much more reliable. Some of the writers have even canceled their AT&T contracts, or not renewed them, and write that they are signing up with Verizon to get iPhone.

Beginning at 3 a.m. Thursday, existing Verizon customers can get iPhone after four years of waiting. The rest of the U.S. can get one Thursday Feb. 10, beginning at 7 a.m. Verizon stores will open early and allow customers to line up outside at 5 a.m. in North Carolina.

AT&T has bumped up its data packages and all but revealed it will match Verizon's best new iPhone feature -- the ability to make the phone a WiFi hotspot for up to five devices.

AT&T is also trumping the ability of its phones, which run a different operating standard than Verizon, that allows you to make voice calls and surf the web or download email at the same time. You can't do that on Verizon.

On Verizon, if you're using the HotSpot (or data at all) and a call comes in, you can choose to take it, but your data session disconnects. Not really cool if you have others using it at the same time. And as an iPhone owner for two years, I use voice and data quite a bit. But there are 90 million Verizon customers who have no idea what I'm talking about and won't care when they are holding the Apple device in their hand.

And the flip side of this is reliability. A lot of readers here are turned off by AT&T's coverage, saying they drop calls often and can't get service often. I think some of that is true.

I rarely have dropped calls, but I do have them.

Driving up Independence Boulevard, near Matthews? Drop.

Driving anywhere along 485 going from south Charlotte to north? Drop.

Sometimes between my bedroom and living room, in the middle of a really important call?


And there are weird places uptown and along Sardis Road or Harris Boulevard that, for me, you can just forget about it.

But AT&T is fast over 3G when you get it. A lot faster, the testers report, than Verizon.

...Decisions. Decisions.

I've gotten a lot of email recently from Verizon customers asking whether they should switch to iPhone or just get a Droid. I have AT&T folks asking if they should break a contract to switch.

I've never had Verizon service here, but have many friends who swear by it. I have used their phones in small towns and gyms and airports where my iPhone just wouldn't work. I believe the service is better. I also believe the iPhone is clearly superior to any Droid I've tested, and I've tested all the exotic Droids that have been released up to now.

Android packs a lot of specs and features. A new one coming out for AT&T will even power a laptop computer. I just can't figure out why I'd want my phone to morph into or power a laptop. I'd just use the laptop.

What makes iPhone superior and clearly so, is the user experience. Android is different on many devices you try and it's kind of techy. It can be hard to figure out and often, for many of my Droid-using friends, it's been buggy (reboot, reboot, reboot).

I can give my iPhone to my decidedly ungeeky 72-year-old Mom and she can navigate around.

It's easy to use and it works and there's a reason, way beyond the "look at me I have an iPhone" thing, that makes people so loyal to it and makes them line up before stores open. I don't see people lining up for the new Droids, many of which are killer devices that will be better than most anything before it.

But my iPhone advice is this: if you are in contract with AT&T, wait. I believe a new iPhone 5 will come out for both AT&T and Verizon in June. If I'm wrong, you'll stay in contract for a few more months which will bring down your early termination fee by then.

If you're AT&T and out of contract and don't mind that a new phone may come soon, go ahead and jump.

If you're Verizon existing, think the same as the out of contract AT&T guy.

Ultimately, I think it may be best to wait. If rumors are to be believed, iPhone 5 will use Verizon's super fast 4G network and allow voice and data at the same time -- and be faster than AT&T.

That's the girl, the gold watch -- and everything.

Can you wait a little longer?


Harrison said...

No thank you. I will stick with my Droid!

VBarnett said...

There's an app for that -"Mark The Spot". This AT&T iPhone app that allows you to "Mark the Spot" where you have poor service. The data is reported to AT&T. It's easy to use and at least gives me satisfaction that I'm letting AT&T know that I'm ticked off! Soooo everyone go get this free app and start Marking The Spot(s)!

Anonymous said...

It makes no sense to me to buy this phone when the new iPhone will be ready in a few months that run on the 4G network.

It's funny how cell phone marketers make us look like a bunch of mindless sheep :-)

Anonymous said...

Can you talk on it?. That's what I use my phone for.

Edmund said...

After having the iPhone for the last 4 years, i'm currently selling my iPhone on ebay so that I can purchased the Motorola Atrix.

My wife and friends have Droids. They are so cool! You don't have to buy an app for navigation, there's flash and you don't have to pay to edit MS documents. Need I say more.

I used to drink from the Apple kool-aide, now i'm drinking from the Android kool-aide!

Anonymous said...

As a Verizon customer probably longer than most of these customers can remember (I've been with Verizon since they were called Bell Atlantic Mobile and was one of the first cell users in Charlotte), I was happy to buy my first iPhone this morning from Verizon and can't wait to get it. It was time--my old cell was 3 years old and I was tired of being behind the times just because I'm cheap. Can't wait to get it next week, and it sure beats standing in line with the AT&T people jumping ship. Looking forward to all the fun apps!

Anonymous said...

I had far more dropped calls with Verizon than I have had with AT&T. No way I will switch back.

Anonymous said...

iPhone is becoming for those who less tech savvy for its use to user interface and Androids are for those who wants customizations. iPhone is no longer the benchmark for smartphones, I wish people would see that. Also if people aren't so clueless, a tech savvy person wouldn't want to buy a phone is that 7 months old! VZW will always have the best coverage b/c of it's signal frequency, 900MHz can penetrate through any walls and distance.

Anonymous said...

I learned a long time ago- if you're waiting for the next big thing in technology, there's always something better around the corner. Tired of waiting for this one. I pre-ordered mine this morning at 3:05 am.

Anonymous said...

The one very important item that wasn't mentioned in the article is the data plan...which is a necessary evil of the iPhone.

AT&T stopped offering the unlimited data plan, but Verizon is offering it for now...with a "warning" that's it will be going away in the near future. Those that had unlimited with AT&T have been able to keep it, but those that have signed up recently have had to chose a 250MB plan for $15/mo or 2GB for $25/mo...whereas the unlimited is $30 for Verizon (and for those with AT&T that still have it).

I'm an AT&T employee, so I'm not switching (same reason I don't have Time Warner Cable)...however, I can 100% understand how somebody that signed up with AT&T to get an iPhone 4 without an unlimited data plan would want to switch. Verizon is offering trade in value (almost $220 for a 16GB) on AT&T iPhones which makes the phone purchase not even a question since a replacement 16GB from Verizon is $199 (same price as the new one from AT&T).

You may not need more than 2GB today, but I can almost guarantee you will in the next year or two. The savings with the unlimited data plan may cover your Early Termination Fee within a year if you look at the big picture.

So, besides coverage and the talk/surf issue, definitely consider the availability right now of the unlimited data plan...even if you end up with a phone that gets "replaced" in the market five months from now, when the unlimited plan may already be gone.

Anonymous said...

I was a loyal Verizon customer for years until late last year when their "we are the best you sould be happy to be our customer" attitude drove me away- honestly I have not had any service problems on AT&T and have dropped no more calls on AT&T than I did on Verizon. Cell phone are still far from prefect- and still evolving- if you are expecting land line quality and realiablity then you are not going to be happy with any carrier or any phone

steve said...

I've had my iPhone for over a year, and the only dropped call I had was on a train in Canada, and we entered a tunnel.

My house is in a dead zone for Verizon, and I get 3 or 4 bars from AT&T. Your experience may be the opposite of that. So before you sign with someone, check with people who go to the same places you do and see what sort of service they get.

The only place I go regularly that has a low signal level on my phone is a restaurant in Davidson. I report that from time to time with "Mark The Spot," but it may be more of an issue with the building's construction than something AT&T should do something about. If the restaurant had wifi for their patrons, I wouldn't care anyway.

Anonymous said...

If you are waiting for a 4G IPhone then you will wait until late next year. They have made it very clear that they will not release a 4G IPhone because the space needed for the extra chipset doesnt fit into IPhone 4 or the IPhone 5 coming later this year. Apple takes design very serious and the additional chipset doesnt fit into the design plus the extra battery size needed to power 4G is a problem for them also....Buy your IPhone now but do not expect real 4G. You might get HSPA+ which is 3.5 G but no LTE or WIMAX.

Anonymous said...

Good comments. Your description of iPhone vs. Android-based devices is spot on. I carry an iPhone for work and have a Droid2 (on Verizon) as my personal phone. The Droid2 on Android is just not as elegant as the iPhone and it's still a bit too "techie" - it still feels like I'm navigating an operating system. (and I'm a technologist by profession) Also, on the Droid, I never know if the issue is hardware, software, or the software integration with the hardware - but that's what you get with an o/s that is one-size-fits-all. In Apple's case, the iPhone is essentially married with iOS and a lot of those interoperability issues are non-issues. Having said all of that, I'll stick with the Android device until I see the iPhone5 solidly running on Verizon's 4G network and then switch.

Anonymous said...

Verizon's true reliability won't be known until it has to handle the same - or higher - volumes that AT&T has had with the iPhone. Since the conversion just started, we won't know for a while, regardless of what Verizon wants us to believe.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to jump on the Verizon 4G network with either the HTC or Motorola 'droid in the next few weeks. This way I can avoid the inevitable slowing of the 3G network, plus get a state-of the art handset. Why would I want to spend my "new every two" credit on a 3G phone?

Anonymous said...

I've had every iPhone since day one, and I seriously don't get the AT&T coverage/dropped call thing. Could it be that I'm just lucky, or that I just don't venture into the dead areas? I'm not saying I have never dropped a call, but as I sit here and look down at my iPhone 4, I have all the bars, and 3G is showing beside the bars. By the way, I'm currently sitting on my sofa at home in Mooresville. I started with AT&T years ago, mostly because I was traveling a lot, and AT&T had better national coverage. I will say this, when I got the first 3G iPhone (whenever that was), there was no "3G" icon on my phone up here. I had to get down toward Davidson to pick up 3G. It didn't really matter to me at home, because I could use wi-fi. The point in mentioning this is I am admitting AT&T has been slow getting their 3G coverage up and running. However, that has never had anything to do with dead areas or dropped calls. Maybe I'll go to Vegas...

Will said...

Lots of people trumpeting 4G here. Question: do you even know why you want it? Is it just because it's one more G? Yes 4G is faster but it's also more expensive, $50 a month for 2GB vs the current $30 for unlimited 3G. Oh yeah, and 4G coverage isn't as wide as 3G so do you know what you're on the rest of the time? That's right, 3G. On another note, everyone here seems certain the iPhone 5 is coming out in a couple months. What evidence is there of this? None.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 5:35pm- As a current VZW customer who's contract just expired two weeks ago, I can tell you there is no "New Every 2" program anymore. I spend over $100/month and have for over 4 yrs. The credit I now got was $30. Not the $100 I had been getting. Never received any kind of notice from VZW about this. When I found that out I started looking in to what else they had changed without telling me about it. Their fee to break your contract has gone up to $350, not the $175 it used to be. And the 30 day hassle free return program is now only 14 days.

It's now much easier for an AT&T customer who has an old iPhone to get one of the new iPhones from VZW. VZW is actually buying them from AT&T customers for over $200 when they switch, so it's free to them. But any current VZW customer who's contract just expired will pay a lot more. Now that's how a business retains their customers these days.

iphone wholesale said...

It is not a true news that Verizon iPhone tops AT&T iPhone in reliability, not speed. I have iPhone its good in speed and it is also reliable for me.