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Old Nov 14, 2012, 12:01 AM   #1
bmwman3241
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Switch from AT&T to Verizon in SoCal - Insight?

I currently have a premier account with AT&T with 5 personal devices (4 iPhones and 1 iPad) for home use. Recently, our service seems to have gone down at home, and we get only 1-2 bars inside and 3G service. We have just switched to mobile share 20GB today and all recently upgraded lines to iPhone 5. I purchased a MicroCell today to try out (activating as I type), but it only covers 40 feet and our house and property are quite big so it will barely cover anything. While at the AT&T store we looked into Verizon and they are showing 4G LTE coverage in our area and full digital voice service. I have also asked my local Verizon store to order an iPhone 5 for us so we can activate a line to try it out.
We will also need to pay about $350 for termination for each device.

Has anyone in SoCal (91748 to be specific) switched from AT&T to Verizon recently? Were you satisfied or not? Was the service substantially better or not worth the switch?

I like AT&T and would keep it, but the service is not good at the house so I am rethinking my options. Your help and insight is appreciated.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 12:13 AM   #2
acorntoy
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If you had no signal at all in your house ( as was my case ) and the termination fee wasn't so high for each device, I would say go for it.

But because of the cost and the fact that you get some signal at your house I'd say wait it out until you can freely move around without ETF.


I'm much happier with Verizon than I was with AT&T but at the price you'd be paying to switch I'm not sure it would be worth it. (I certainly wouldn't do it)
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 01:00 AM   #3
bmwman3241
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It is 22 months until I will be out of contract.
I am thinking that selling the iPhone 5's should cover the cost of the phone and ETF, since I will need to get new Verizon iPhone 5's anyways.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 01:25 AM   #4
macking104
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If you had good service before, and all of a sudden have lousy coverage at home, Have you thought about contacting AT&T to test the local cell tower for problems? Probably easier than paying a lot of ETF, etc...
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 01:36 AM   #5
SAMtheGAM
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The microcell can cover about 5000 square foot. I have placed the microcell in the center of my house in Monterey Park, CA 91754 and it can fully cover the inside of my house and even into the backyard. I am also using iPhone 5.

I know AT&T is upgrading it's towers to include LTE in the East San Gabriel Valley. This has led to degraded service in certain areas such as Hacienda Heights, West Covina, La Puente. While the upgrades are happening they have either powered off sites or lowered their power.

I also have an iPhone 5 on Verizon as well. Even though their map shows LTE everywhere in Los Angeles County there are still some areas that don't have LTE. In Monterey Park there is rarely LTE in residential areas and mainly in business district. I will admit that VZW overall works much better here and has more LTE in the East San Gabriel Valley then AT&T.

However, AT&T 4G HSPA+ network is also pretty quick. And you can use data while on the phone. While on VZW you can only talk. No data at same time. Also when out of LTE the 3G EVDO Rev A network on VZW is much slower then AT&T 4G HSPA+

I would say not worth the switch as the microcell should be able to solve your signal problems at home. I would also suggest calling AT&T and have them issue trouble ticket of the signal degradation in your home. Perhaps the site that serves your house is down for maintenance. Depending on the results you may even be able to get reimbursed for your microcell. I got my microcell free since there is no signal outside my house as the cell site that serves my neighborhood is optimized for the business district and not residential.

Last edited by SAMtheGAM; Nov 14, 2012 at 01:44 AM.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 02:30 AM   #6
bmwman3241
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAMtheGAM View Post
The microcell can cover about 5000 square foot. I have placed the microcell in the center of my house in Monterey Park, CA 91754 and it can fully cover the inside of my house and even into the backyard. I am also using iPhone 5.

I know AT&T is upgrading it's towers to include LTE in the East San Gabriel Valley. This has led to degraded service in certain areas such as Hacienda Heights, West Covina, La Puente. While the upgrades are happening they have either powered off sites or lowered their power.

I also have an iPhone 5 on Verizon as well. Even though their map shows LTE everywhere in Los Angeles County there are still some areas that don't have LTE. In Monterey Park there is rarely LTE in residential areas and mainly in business district. I will admit that VZW overall works much better here and has more LTE in the East San Gabriel Valley then AT&T.

However, AT&T 4G HSPA+ network is also pretty quick. And you can use data while on the phone. While on VZW you can only talk. No data at same time. Also when out of LTE the 3G EVDO Rev A network on VZW is much slower then AT&T 4G HSPA+

I would say not worth the switch as the microcell should be able to solve your signal problems at home. I would also suggest calling AT&T and have them issue trouble ticket of the signal degradation in your home. Perhaps the site that serves your house is down for maintenance. Depending on the results you may even be able to get reimbursed for your microcell. I got my microcell free since there is no signal outside my house as the cell site that serves my neighborhood is optimized for the business district and not residential.
Thanks for the info. May I ask how you know they are upgrading the towers to LTE in East SGV and by when they should be up and running?
I think this might be the problem we are facing as our reception has decreased recently (<1 year).

I just set up the microcell a couple hours ago in the living room, but unfortunately I don't even get the signal in the bedroom. I was hoping it would have covered the house, and now the whole LTE upgrading thing..its a confusing decision.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 03:00 AM   #7
KernWillia
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Thats a little long to be sitting with low voice and data coverage.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 04:32 AM   #8
michaeljohn
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Depends on your area. Out here in Anaheim, the difference is night and day. My roommate has a 4s on AT&T that never has more than one bar in the house and his data is pretty much non existent. Meanwhile, I have an iPhone 5 with Verizon that nearly has full bars all the time in the house and my call quality is great.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 04:33 AM   #9
SAMtheGAM
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Originally Posted by bmwman3241 View Post
Thanks for the info. May I ask how you know they are upgrading the towers to LTE in East SGV and by when they should be up and running?
I think this might be the problem we are facing as our reception has decreased recently (<1 year).

I just set up the microcell a couple hours ago in the living room, but unfortunately I don't even get the signal in the bedroom. I was hoping it would have covered the house, and now the whole LTE upgrading thing..its a confusing decision.
I know they are upgrading to LTE in East SGV because I have friends that work on cell sites and the big push right now is LTE upgrades & T-Mobile refarm their network!!! I have also noticed LTE signal in Baldwin Park & on parts of Colima Road have LTE now which was not there before!!! If you look at the data coverage maps for AT&T you will also notice patches of LTE in the East SGV I would estimate that LTE coverage will be greatly expanded in another 6 month or so!!! I initially did not have LTE here in Monterey Park, CA but got it sometime in June 2012

I would place your microcell high as possible. I have mine on bookshelf on first floor in family room and on third floor in master bed room can still pick up microcell. Also I would disable automatic hand off calls this keeps the phone on microcell as well. Also I would place it in center of house and in the worst reception area. The microcell will have greater range if it can pick up weak signal. I have long Ethernet cable & extension cord to get mine covering entire house!

Last edited by SAMtheGAM; Nov 14, 2012 at 04:38 AM.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 09:51 AM   #10
Jordan921
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Originally Posted by SAMtheGAM View Post
The microcell will have greater range if it can pick up weak signal. I have long Ethernet cable & extension cord to get mine covering entire house!
It's better to have the microcell by a window no? I guess it is a smart idea to have the microcell in a more central area but then we woud have to run wires just to make it work.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 10:09 AM   #11
wordoflife
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I would live with the 1-2 bars of home service until your contract expires. I'm assuming calls and text messages still work.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 10:52 AM   #12
Cuechick
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I am also in SGV, just North of Pasadena, I had At&t and switched to Verizon. I was lucky to not have a contract, but I made the switch cause I thought Verizon offered a better & cheaper plan for my needs. I do think I get much, much better reception. With At&t I often lost my connection or had to run out to my porch to hear my party as they would be breaking up.

All that said, wouldn't a land line for home use be a lot cheaper than breaking all those contracts?

I would also think if there has been a drastic change in the quality of your reception and you can prove this, you might be able to fight At&t on this... after all they have in a way altered the contract you originally agreed to.

Though I am not a lawyer and don't know how exactly you would fight it...
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 11:13 AM   #13
jwlbel
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I had AT&T with no real reception problems. I always got at least 3 if not 4 or 5 bars inside my place. I kept reading how much better Verizon was so I made the switch. I was lucky if I got 2 bars inside. Every single person I talked to while inside said they could not understand what I was saying. It sounded like I was underwater and was breaking up really bad. So after a few weeks I went back to AT&T. While they are not perfect (but no company really is) and I am very happy with them. I live on the West Side of Los Angeles.

Oh, and I know from having friends over that have Sprint, and T-mobile they get no signal inside my place. So I guess I am staying with AT&T. Which is fine.

So it really depends where you are located. No company is perfect everywhere. It is what works best for you.

The few weeks I had Verizon made me realize how much I appreciate being able to use voice and still use data at the same time with AT&T.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 11:15 AM   #14
gaby4ever25
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I have Verizon and have always had great service in Monterey Park. This includes data and voice. I recently switched from an android phone to the iphone 5 and never had a problem with either of them. My sister has AT&T (iphone 4s) and when she comes for a visit usually has lousy service (data and voice). She always connects to my wireless network for data.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 04:08 PM   #15
sargein
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I just switched from AT&T (after 12 years!) to Verizon in Irvine, and the difference here is pretty significant. I actually had both lines for a month to compare both, and Verizon is MUCH more reliable and better performing at both voice and data. No dropped calls or missed words any more.

Irrespective of towers, it is a fact that Verizon has double the bandwidth of AT&T in SoCal, so Verizon is usually better in the area. Of course, there will be areas where AT&T will be better due to tower location etc. For me, Verizon works great indoors as well while AT&T used to struggle.

I have had AT&T Microcell for 2 years, and even though the bars always showed at 5, I still had people unable to hear me or me unable to hear them.

It is more expensive with Verizon, but for me it was worthwhile. YMMV.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 04:23 PM   #16
bmwman3241
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Originally Posted by sargein View Post
I just switched from AT&T (after 12 years!) to Verizon in Irvine, and the difference here is pretty significant. I actually had both lines for a month to compare both, and Verizon is MUCH more reliable and better performing at both voice and data. No dropped calls or missed words any more.

Irrespective of towers, it is a fact that Verizon has double the bandwidth of AT&T in SoCal, so Verizon is usually better in the area. Of course, there will be areas where AT&T will be better due to tower location etc. For me, Verizon works great indoors as well while AT&T used to struggle.

I have had AT&T Microcell for 2 years, and even though the bars always showed at 5, I still had people unable to hear me or me unable to hear them.

It is more expensive with Verizon, but for me it was worthwhile. YMMV.
I think I will do the same and get a Verizon line to try out for a while before making the switch.

Can anyone with Verizon confirm if you get signal in South Coast Plaza? One thing with AT&T that always annoyed me way no service(1 bar under the windows) at South Coast.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 07:05 PM   #17
modthispny
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i had the iphone 5 through AT&T and switched over to verizon and couldn't be happier.

i did give up my AT&T's unlimited plan, but i have 5gb with verizon(comparable cost to my AT&T plan) and i have gone nowhere near 5gb.

LTE coverage is why i switched over, AT&T 4G can be pretty quick (10mbit fastest), but overall verizon LTE is faster.

i've gotten up to 65mbit in parts of encino and also pasadena, now, not all places will yield those speeds, but it's still faster than AT&T IMO.

AT&T LTE, while limited, speeds are pretty quick, but IMO verizon LTE > AT&T LTE.

only downfall is i can't talk on phone and surf web/data, but i've never had the need to do so.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 06:43 PM   #18
SAMtheGAM
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Originally Posted by gaby4ever25 View Post
I have Verizon and have always had great service in Monterey Park. This includes data and voice. I recently switched from an android phone to the iphone 5 and never had a problem with either of them. My sister has AT&T (iphone 4s) and when she comes for a visit usually has lousy service (data and voice). She always connects to my wireless network for data.
VZW has issues near the Monterey Park Hospital. Dropped calls (marginal signal) & no LTE. I have to use a network extender for Verizon in my home to use the service.

Otherwise I would say Verizon is much better then AT&T in the rest of Monterey Park. Verizon has much better coverage then AT&T on Garvey & Garfield Avenues.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 09:48 PM   #19
bmwman3241
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I got a Galaxy S3 from Verizon today to try out. I get 3 bars inside my house, and 2 in the dead spots. I also get 4G LTE at my house, and everywhere I drove today (except 1 block in Orange).
I didn't make too many calls, but the few I did were clear. I also tested it on a street where AT&T always disconnects, but Verizon did not and quality was good.

I wasted my 2GB data plan on speedtests today, and heres the results if anyones interested.
LTE:
Average speed in my house: 10mb DL / 6.5mb UL
Highest speed in my house: 17.05mb DL / 11.57mb UL

Average Speed around OC and LA: 15-20mb DL / 10-15 UL
Lowest speed: 0.42mb DL / 0.42mb UL (Deadspot in Irvine)
High speed: 48.57mb DL / 20.72mb UL

Street outside my house: 23.85mb DL / 17.15mb UL
Average
Brea: 32mb DL
Anaheim: 20mb DL
Irvine: 20mb DL
I have more cities but I will leave them out.

And the S3 sucks! Only got it because the iPhone wasn't available.

----------

I would also like to ask, what are the differences between the AT&T and Verizon iPhone 5? Does Verizon have visual voicemail?

I know someone mentioned Verizon does not allow you to talk on the phone and surf the web at the same time, but AT&T does.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 10:15 PM   #20
Diseal3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwman3241 View Post
I got a Galaxy S3 from Verizon today to try out. I get 3 bars inside my house, and 2 in the dead spots. I also get 4G LTE at my house, and everywhere I drove today (except 1 block in Orange).
I didn't make too many calls, but the few I did were clear. I also tested it on a street where AT&T always disconnects, but Verizon did not and quality was good.

I wasted my 2GB data plan on speedtests today, and heres the results if anyones interested.
LTE:
Average speed in my house: 10mb DL / 6.5mb UL
Highest speed in my house: 17.05mb DL / 11.57mb UL

Average Speed around OC and LA: 15-20mb DL / 10-15 UL
Lowest speed: 0.42mb DL / 0.42mb UL (Deadspot in Irvine)
High speed: 48.57mb DL / 20.72mb UL

Street outside my house: 23.85mb DL / 17.15mb UL
Average
Brea: 32mb DL
Anaheim: 20mb DL
Irvine: 20mb DL
I have more cities but I will leave them out.

And the S3 sucks! Only got it because the iPhone wasn't available.

----------

I would also like to ask, what are the differences between the AT&T and Verizon iPhone 5? Does Verizon have visual voicemail?

I know someone mentioned Verizon does not allow you to talk on the phone and surf the web at the same time, but AT&T does.
Verizon does have visual voicemail. You will be able to surf and talk with the S3 in LTE areas but the iPhone 5 will not do it.

EDIT: Apparently the Verizon s3 supports SVDO so it should work over 3G as well. I can't test it but that's what howardforums reports.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 11:51 PM   #21
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I think it'll be fair to talk about the voice and legacy data (3G) separated from the LTE.

Honestly across SoCal, if not the whole west coast, GSM carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile) isn't just as good as CDMA carriers (Verizon, Sprint). There are no clear explanation but it all comes down the the carrying capacity at a given site. However in the east coast it's complete opposite. I guess it's the time of infrastructure scale.

As some of you said, it's very easy to tell which system the other end is on. Most of the GSM subscriber I know has a pretty degraded audio quality. The legacy data is the same as well. CDMA on the other hand... well, voice quality is mostly crispy clear compare to GSM counterparts. Legacy data? Well before the iPhone 4S review for Verizon, the EvDO speed is pretty decent. Now? Meh at the best.

Believe it or not, the data card I was given from work, which uses AT&T's UTMS / HSDPA system, constantly gets worse than EDGE speed even though it's in the full signal coverage area. I've made multiple device changes, both the data card and the computer, still the same.

Now onto the new data standard... LTE. Verizon was smart enough to acquire majority of the 700mHz band when FCC put it up for auction years back. This allowed them to roll out the LTE with a frequency that can penetrate materials better (lower frequency = longer wavelength) depending on the amplitude of the signal. AT&T on the other hand... had to acquire other "subpar" 700 and even other frequency bands for their LTE. Consider when the majority of the spectrum is owned by one carrier, the others are left with only what's left.

Speed-wise, AT&T is faster, if, IF you are in their coverage area with a good signal. It's spotty at the best so far. As for Verizon? It's not as fast as AT&T's, but it's very stable and very, VERY few dead spots. When VZW's LTE works, it works. May not be super fast but better than spotty coverage and drains battery when switching between data connections.

Bottom line, if you want stable and 99% coverage of LTE, and better voice quality, go with VZW.
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Old Nov 15, 2012, 11:56 PM   #22
stanfidavid
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Thats a little long to be sitting with low voice and data coverage
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Old Nov 16, 2012, 02:20 AM   #23
SAMtheGAM
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In Southern CA VZW was originally the product of PacTel Cellular which later became AirTouch and VZW. Since, the AMPS network was built early in the 80's and 90's NIMBY were non existent and allowed more cellular towers and sites to be put up. Also VZW in Los Angeles / Orange County uses the 850Mhz for voice and 1900Mhz for EVDO & 700Mhz for LTE. When AirTouch upgraded from AMPS ANALOG to DIGITAL CDMA they were able to use the same prime cell site locations. The network is properly spaced for 850Mhz.

AT&T (BLUE) started out as LA Cellular and had an AMPS network later upgraded to TDMA then to GSM. When GSM was deployed it was setup on the 1900Mhz frequency using existing 850Mhz site locations. Because 1900Mhz does not penetrate buildings too well and does not travel as far. The GSM network was put at a disadvantage. It was not until AT&T shutdown the legacy TDMA network that they were able to transmit at 850Mhz GSM for voice and 1900Mhz UMTS and later on LTE 700Mhz.

Then there was Pacific Bell Wireless which operated on 1900Mhz GSM as well. PBW later became Cingular (Orange). When they became Cingular they had a network sharing agreement with T-Mobile. Because of the poor coverage of Cingular / T-Mobile the FCC fined Cingular everyday that the network was subpar. The network got very good eventually and when Cingular became AT&T they allowed the AT&T (BLUE) customers to roam on the Cingular (Orange) network. This created the illusion that the GSM coverage was excellent which in fact still had it's problems. When AT&T (BLUE) took over they eventually sold the Cingular (ORANGE) network to T-Mobile. And AT&T was using their Blue network. T-Mobile in Los Angeles County specifically the San Gabriel Valley has better reception on T-Mobile then AT&T as far as GSM carriers are concerned.

Los Angeles had 3 GSM (AT&T, TMO, Cingular) networks at one point and 2 CDMA (Verizon, Sprint) carriers at one point. Now we just have AT&T and TMO for GSM and Verizon, Sprint, MetroPCS for CDMA. MetroPCS shares many of it's site locations with Sprint. They also have an LTE network just no iPhone 5 but have the Samsung Galaxy S3.

The best places to look for iPhone 5 for VZW are at the Apple Store. You can reserve an iPhone 5 after 10PM for pickup in store the next day. Brea is the nearest location to Rowland Heights. Also, I would check the Best Buy Mobile in West Covina Mall and the Verizon Corp. Store there.

The iPhone 5 has better reception then the Samsung Galaxy S3 on Verizon in my experience. The radio in iPhone 5 seems to pick up a better LTE signal in marginal areas then the S3. With the S3 I cannot make calls in my house unless I use the network extender. But, on iPhone 5 as long as I am upstairs I can use it without network extender. I just use the VZW network extender which works much better then the AT&T microcell at my house since I get no LTE from VZW and a very weak 1 bar of LTE on AT&T.
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