The announcement of the 4S seems like it was years ago to me even though it was last week. I’ve been ridiculously busy since the announcement (& everything else that’s been going on with the company), but I still manage to constantly think about the phone and whether or not people should get one.
I say “people” because I know I want one. I wasn’t super excited but Siri enlivens me. It actually makes me want to jump up and down out of excitement like a 5 year old getting her first Barbie…if that’s even what kids play with these days. The thing is, I know some people are on the fence about it and others aren’t. Obviously a lot of people aren’t with one million pre-orders already completed.
The thing is, the iPhone actually has more options than ever. At release you have the option of black or white, which we have seen before, but didn’t actually happen when the iPhone 4 was released. But now you also have the option of 16 gb, 32 gb and 64 gb. JEEZE. What an option. It’s kind of a commitment as well because you can’t upgrade that sucker until maybe next year…and what if you run out of room? Here’s the big one though…when you’re signing your life away (or two years of it) you have to think… AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint?
Now, if you’re on one of these services you might be thinking how brilliant your provider is or it could even go the other way and you’re thinking about how much you hate them. It just so happens that most people have negative things to say about their service providers, but it’s not like you can really complain anymore…you’re welcome to jump ship in order to get the iPhone. Unless you want T-Mobile…and then I think there’s no hope for you (especially with the possibility of them being sold).
I have Verizon. It has it’s ups and downs. I’ve had Verizon since I was 13 (my parents have had Verizon through three name changes… I couldn’t even begin to tell you what the names were, but I remember them having GIANT phones). Let’s keep in mind we were a Navy family and Verizon is so kind to place towers on the bases, which means you’re always in range. In St. Mary’s County, Maryland, if you didn’t have Verizon you didn’t have service. It actually amazed me that an AT&T store – Cingular at the time- even existed, but I suppose it’s getting better. When I worked at AT&T, I could even show people the dead spot on the map that is St. Mary’s. I’m not even kidding, even AT&T admits they have awful service there. From my first Kyocera, several LG flip phones, a Blackberry 8830, to my iPhone, I’ve actually been quite loyal to Verizon. I have little to no dropped calls (except very recently) and up until my Blackberry, I had clear calls.
Here’s the thing though.
When I worked at AT&T I was given a line to use. Being so loyal to Verizon (& my Maryland area code) I opted to keep my Verizon Blackberry. This is where my loyalty to Verizon started to falter and these are the reasons that if I were you, I’d go with an AT&T iPhone over a Verizon one; and especially over a Sprint one:
- Verizon may have world phones. I actually adore their parent company, Vodafone, but their world service is minimal. Even in China – where CDMA is used alongside GSM – I couldn’t get service to call home. On the other hand, AT&T stuck it out with me. That’s not too bad you’re thinking…how often do you travel? Plus the iPhone is technically the same whether or not you have Verizon or AT&T now, which means you can switch services AND use it abroad. You’re wrong. I’m sure you’ll be able to do that if you jailbreak your phone, but I actually can’t stand it when people do. Plus if you’re jailbreaking your phone you’re not even talking about the same unit so leave it alone. The thing is, the phone is still locked to whichever service you choose (whether it’s AT&T, Sprint or Verizon). If you have AT&T and need to go abroad using your device, you can. You’ll pay a hefty amount for using AT&T sister services, but it can still be done. On the Verizon phone? Nope. You’re still stuck using your CDMA services at home and feeling a tad bit screwed abroad. Please don’t even get me started with Sprint here. Keep in mind that if you want to purchase an unlocked iPhone through Apple to be used in America, it will only work with a compatible GSM network. Just in case you weren’t paying attention, that also leaves you with AT&T.
- Not going abroad, huh? Well, first of all, I’m sorry. You really should. But on top of that, let’s consider service. This one’s a little harder, because it depends where you live. Obviously if you’re shacking it up in St. Mary’s County, MD, you want the Verizon iPhone because nothing else will work. Here in Jacksonville, you pretty much have your pick…there’s only a few exceptions. I’m not sure if you know this, but there’s been this HUGE war over the past few years about who has the fewest dropped calls and the fastest network and blah blah blah. Here are the maps:
(One thing I’ll point out here that Sprint has a terrible website). So the Verizon map shows both Data and “4G”. The iPhone isn’t 4G capable so I’d just go ahead and ignore that. But then there’s all that red. Red means “3G”, aka the usual CDMA network that they’ve had for awhile. Here’s the awesome thing about CDMA…keep this in mind Sprint users…when you talk, you talk, when you’re online, you’re online. If you’re thinking “who would go online while he’s on the phone?” well, you’ve never had a smartphone before. The magical thing about work is that it doesn’t care about your personal life. Sometimes you actually have to look something up while you’re on the phone. As much as I’m not a fan of the AT&T commercials, they are pretty accurate. Talk on the phone, make reservations on the web, or whatever is so pressing. It’s something that drives me insane when it comes to Verizon. Boo Sprint and Verizon on that one. Using wifi? That’s great. It only works then for them.
- Thinking about all the commercials where AT&T and Verizon about who has the fastest network? Verizon thinks they do. AT&T thinks they do. Sprint…doesn’t. 4G, maybe, but again, you’re not using WiMax on the iPhone. I’m going to be honest. I have no clue who has the fastest network. Not only don’t I know, but you don’t really know either. If Verizon tells you their speed, well…they were testing it. Same for the other networks. From experience, I know Verizon isn’t the fastest in my neighborhood. Again, it could be in yours, but you never know until you use it. I’ve been around people with AT&T that have been trying to go to the same website that I have and it’s taken them about 5 seconds and about 45 seconds for mine. I know, 45 seconds isn’t a lot of time and maybe I’m just impatient, but if you’re testing speeds then…well…we know who wins there.
- Now to your favorite…price. Sprint has unlimited data!!! Which is most likely slower (remember, no 4G here), so which is more important to you? From working in a cellphone store, you probably don’t need unlimited data. Even if you’re using pandora 24/7, chances are you’re in a wifi area. If you’re thinking you shouldn’t have to use wifi, well, it’s faster anyway so why wouldn’t you? If you have the smallest plan for AT&T at one person, you’re paying about 84.99/month (before tax because it varies by state), the 84.99 includes 450 minutes, unlimited texting and the 2 gb of data. You might not need all this, but this would allow you to talk to any mobile device for free as well. For Verizon, this would cost you $89.99/month for 450 minutes, unlimited texting and 2 GB of data. With Sprint (again, the website is awful) it’s $79.99/month. This gives you 450 minutes, unlimited text and unlimited data. Yes, they do have an unlimited everything plan but I tried to keep it as even as possible. That’s a $5 difference (pre-tax) between AT&T and Sprint. In most instances you’re going to have better coverage with AT&T -again, I know there are some exceptions to the rules here- so is 5 bucks a deal breaker for you? Remember that you’ll also get rollover minutes with AT&T, so around the holidays when you’re calling stores or home – those number that aren’t mobile- you’re still not paying extra. Taxes we won’t talk about because there’s no way around those, so don’t argue about that. Plus they should be about the same price on any service with the varying factor being the state.