A Geek With Guns

Views from a geek gun nut

The Verizon iPhone

It seems as though people who know me actually value my opinion. I haven’t a clue why this is, maybe people asked me all sorts of questions about devices because they enjoy listening to me prattle off mundane details that nobody cares about. Either way a lot of people have been asking me about my opinion regarding the Verizon iPhone so here are my thoughts.

First the most obvious question, am I angry I went with AT&T so shortly before Verizon announced their phone? No. There are advantages and disadvantages to each carrier. AT&T uses GSM while Verizon uses CDMA which leads to some differences. The two things I like about GSM are the ability to use voice and data at the same time (on 3G, it doesn’t work on EDGE) and the ability to pull my SIM card out of one phone, plug it into another, and start using that new phone without getting AT&T’s permission. On the other hand Verizon has much better coverage. I can’t use my iPhone when I visit my parents while CDMA phones work perfectly fine. Of course I still have a Sprint phone for when I travel down there so I’m not too worried (granted my Sprint phone is mostly used for tethering at this point as Sprint’s data plan and network are second to none).

Honestly I’m rarely outside of AT&T’s coverage area so that’s a minor issue for me. Being able to use voice and data at the same time is extremely nice and honestly I’m getting quite addicted to it. Verizon hasn’t announced any plan pricing for the iPhone yet so that’s all up for speculation. Since I like to speculate I’m going to assume Verizon will use their current plans and rates. AT&T’s data plan is $20.00 for 2GB and $10.00 for each GB after that (so it’s a flat rate of $10.00 per GB basically). Currently Verizon is charging $30 for their unlimited data plan which is a much better deal. Frankly there is no competition between the two plans.

As far as voice plans are concerned AT&T and Verizon exactly mirror one another. If you want 450 minutes you pay $39.99, if you want 900 minutes you pay $59.99, and if you want unlimited minutes you pay $69.99. What is interesting is the price difference for their text messaging plans (also known as the biggest and most expensive data plan on Earth). For $20.00 AT&T gives you unlimited text messaging while Verizon’s plans with unlimited text messaging come in at an astounding, well, $20.00 as well. That’s a pretty even match.

Verizon is saying they’re going to throw in mobile hot spot for up to five devices on the iPhone for free. If so that’s one Hell of a good idea compared to having to pay an additional free with AT&T for tethering (although Verizon’s wireless hot spot tethering may not cover USB tethering which is valuable once in a great while when you find yourself at a hacker convention in Las Vegas and every Wi-Fi hot spot is being attacked and thus is basically unusable).

Basically if Verizon continues to use the plans they already have established they win out over AT&T without any competition.

As far as hardware there really isn’t any noticeable difference between AT&T’s iPhone and Verizon’s. The radios are different and the outer antennas are a bit different but everything else is basically the same. From what people have told me AT&T’s 3G data network is faster than Verizon’s but I’ve never used Verizon’s so I can’t attest to that. Verizon does have LTE now which is even faster than 3G but the iPhone doesn’t support it so it’s really not a valid criteria here.

One last advantage that AT&T’s phone has over Verizon’s is the fact you can actually use your AT&T phone in other countries (at the exorbitant cost of international roaming or plans). Of course since the iPhone is SIM locked you can just drop in a SIM card from a local carrier in another country but if your phone is unlocked you gain this advantage.

Basically it’s the same damned phone on two different networks. In this case if you want an iPhone you really have free reign to chose which of the two carriers you want to get it from. There are no game ending differences between the two as far as I can see.

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Written by Christopher Burg

January 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Technology

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One Response

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  1. For me GSM always wins over CDMA for the international aspect. Being able to take calls in Mexico and Europe (where my wife and I frequently travel to both places) is a key winner for me. That being said you will have that in 5 years with VZ anyway, since they are going LTE which is where all the GSM countries are going that will just leave Sprint on WiMax that doesn’t travel well. So VZ gets more viable for me once we see LTE rolled out in most places.

    Jeffrey H

    January 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm


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