The rumors are over and the iPhone is finally coming to Verizon on February 10, 2011. Users across the country who have been unsatisfied with AT&T’s network finally have the option to switch to the carrier that is known for having the best coverage in the nation. Of course, switching prematurely, doesn’t come without a price. Anyone wanting to leave their contract with AT&T does face the usual early termination fee. Now that Apple has finally decided to branch out and offer the phone to another carrier, should current AT&T users terminate their existing contract? Should new users rush out and buy Verizon’s version of the iPhone?
As far as specs and price go, there are no differences. It’s the same phone as manufactured by Apple, and the price the phone is being offered at ($199 and $299) by both companies are the same. Leaving these two items out of the equation, let’s look at the most important differences that could assist in someone making a decision.
The one complaint about the iPhone has always been AT&T’s network. Frequent dropped calls have always been the aggravating factor in owning the iPhone with AT&T. However, like any wireless carrier, this varies by region. Verizon, on the other hand, is known for having the best coverage in the nation.
Probably a huge factor in anyone’s carrier decision has to be the technology. The iPhone has always performed nicely on AT&T’s GSM system, while Verizon’s iPhone has been modified to run on their own CDMA network. AT&T has always been known as having the fastest 3G network, but Verizon is currently upgrading their network to boost it’s 3G speeds. AT&T is boosting their network speed as well. This technology also has an affect on a key feature with the iPhone. On AT&T’s GSM network, simultaneous voice and data capabilities are a great feature. Users can talk and surf the internet at the same time. On Verizon’s CDMA network, this feature is not available. That means that users will not be able to simultaneously receive calls and data at the same time.
One of the biggest reasons to own a smartphone is its ability to access data from anywhere. While Verizon has yet to announce any special data plans that will be made available with the iPhone, AT&T currently offers very limited plans. Comparing Verizon’s current data plan offerings to AT&T,Verizon is the clear winner. The best AT&T has to offer is 2GB of data for $25 a month while Verizon currently offers an unlimited data plan for $29 a month. This is an important factor to consider depending on the amount of data you will be accessing with your iPhone.
What’s the bottom line? All things being equal on the price and hardware/software side, it really comes down to features. Users unhappy with their AT&T coverage face losing the ability to simultaneously talk and surf the web. New users of the iPhone have to weigh if the talk/data feature is important to them or not. The iPhone 5 is probably around the corner so maybe the best thing to do is wait and see how the iPhone performs on Verizon’s network before making any rash decisions. Two years is a long time to commit to something if you’re not happy with it. Who knows, maybe the next generation of iPhone will be made to be compatible with Verizon’s CDMA network.
Click here for a graphical comparison of the two phones.
“Will Verizon’s iPhone change everything?”, Seattle PI
“The Verizon iPhone vs. the AT&T iPhone”, Geek @ System