AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by zoebaggins, May 10, 2012.

  1. zoebaggins macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2011
    #1
    I'm going to get an iPhone with the relaunch (redesign - I don't know what to call it) but I'm not sure what company to go with - any recommendations? And yeah, I know October is quite awhile away but who knows, I may get impatient and just get the 4S soon.

    I've looked through the forum already but all I've really gathered is that:

    1. Even though Sprint advertises unlimited data and is the cheapest, apparently it's really slow?
    2. Verizon is the most expensive. All I really got on them.
    3. AT&T's customer service sucks (among other things).
    I'm a student and will be opening a single account by myself; since I'll be locked for two years, I just want to make sure it's worth it.

    Also: How much data do you use? If I go with AT&T or Verizon, I'm going to have to use data sparingly, obviously. Want to make sure it's liveable. 3GB of data sounds like very little these days and since I've never had a smart phone before, I don't really know how much bandwidth pages and whatnot take.
     
  2. twigman08 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    #2
    Honestly go with what ever service is the best in your area. if anyone tells you difference then they are just wrong in my opinion. Always go with what is best in your area. Here AT&T is the absolute best in my area. No question about it.

    Though check out LTE in your area? Is it available in your area yet from any of the carriers? Does it plan to be rolled out in your area soon?

    Honestly 3 gigs of data should be just fine for a month. Unless you're just streaming video all the time I don't think you will use 3gb of data in a month just surfing the web, watching some videos, and all that. It only uses that data if you're using a cellular data signal. If you're using WiFi then you're even more good to go. According to my iPhone Cellular data usage, I have received 2.0 gigs of data (I do have unlimited data, grandfathered in at AT&T) and I have not reset that usage ever. That dates back to when I get my replacement phone two months ago. Not to mention my phone is jailbroken so I am also doing a lot of things on 3G that normally isn't allowed on 3G.
     
  3. zoebaggins thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 31, 2011
    #3
    How does one find out the speeds in the area? I looked at the coverage map and although my area is covered with all three carriers, it doesn't really tell me much...
     
  4. twigman08 macrumors 6502

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    Apr 13, 2012
    #4
    honestly the only way to find out about a certain service in your area is just to ask different people. Don't go by coverage maps, on any carrier.
     
  5. sarcosis macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 25, 2006
    Location:
    These United States
    #5
    Coverage maps won't help. The best way is to ask around in your town. They can give you a good idea of what to expect. They can also tell you how the reception is where you are.
     
  6. zoebaggins thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2011
    #6
    Alright, I'll just go around and ask a few of my friends then (most of them are on AT&T so I'm going to assume it's the best). Thanks for the information, guys! :)
     
  7. mikee336 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2009
    #7
    Keep in mind that you (Assuming your area supports 3G) you will get the fastest speeds by far by going with AT&T as well as have the ability to use the internet and make a phone call at the same time which becomes a big deal if you ever end up tethering your phone. The simultaneous voice/data gets downplayed a lot by those on other carriers but has come in handy countless times for me. :D
     
  8. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere
    #8
    That's probably a sign that AT&T is the best where you are, but yeah try to ask friends on other carriers as well. All carriers have their strengths and weaknesses so an internet forum can't really help you with which is best where you are.
     
  9. zoebaggins thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 31, 2011
    #10
    I thought T-Mobile was the slowest if you use an iPhone on their network...? Don't you get 2G speeds or something.
     
  10. MattMJB0188 macrumors 68000

    MattMJB0188

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    #11
    They are "modernizing" their network to work on the same 3G bands AT&T uses. They have already begun this, however, it is unconfirmed where the iPhone will get 3G speeds. Now, where you will get 3G speeds on the iPhone with T-Mobile, you'll see much faster HSPA+ speeds than AT&T. Probably 10Mbps or 11Mbps.

    T-Mobile has an ideal HSPA+ network where they have coverage. They have plans to launch their LTE network in 2013. Their monthly 4G plans are ideal. T-Mobile does not have a congested network unlike AT&T.

    Once T-Mobile has LTE AT&T won't have that HSPA+/LTE advantage, however, they'll have the coverage where T-Mobile will not.

    Hopefully by fall T-Mobile will have confirmed cities with 1900Mhz 3G.

    AT&T- GSM technology. Rapidly expanding LTE and has HSPA+ to fall back on, but don't expect anything faster than 7Mbps in most populated areas. AT&T also wants you to have a data plan but recommend you ONLY use WI-FI the majority of the time. They don't like people using their network, as the CEO was recently quoted for saying every MB you go over he has to invest capital lol.

    Verizon - Best LTE coverage, but their 4G needs lots of improvement as its notorious for going out. When NOT in a 4G area you only have EVDO which is VERY VERY slow, and heavily congested. Most expensive plans and limited CDMA technology.

    Sprint - Unlimited data but spotty coverage and extremely slow 3G. Better plans than Verzion but once again, spotty coverage and horrible network. Limited CDMA technology.
     
  11. zoebaggins thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2011
    #12
    So you're saying I should just buy an unlocked iPhone and just use T-Mobile? I was actually going to do this and go on their $30 prepaid plan but wasn't too keen about buying a smart phone that doesn't even have 3G access.
     
  12. MattMJB0188 macrumors 68000

    MattMJB0188

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    Dec 28, 2009
    #13
    I think it'd be a smart decision. One day soon, sooner rather later your iPhone will light up 3G. Their EDGE isn't bad, slow, yes, but gets the job done. Look at how many iPhones are on T-Mobile's network. It might actually be faster than Sprint and Verizon's 3G lol.

    Good luck!!1
     
  13. zoebaggins thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2011
    #14
    Buying an unlocked phone is a bit steep for me though the plan would be tremendously cheaper... can I buy a used AT&T phone (since they're both GSM anyways) and unlock that instead of buying an actual unlocked iPhone or will that complicate things?
     
  14. MattMJB0188 macrumors 68000

    MattMJB0188

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    #15
    That'd work but good luck finding an unlocked iPhone 4S for AT&T. I know the company recently announced they will unlock any iPhone on their network if you meet their requirements.

    Good Standing customer
    Fulfilled your 2yr agreement.

    Maybe T-Mobile will get the next iPhone. Go with AT&T if you want a subsidized phone. Assuming they have coverage in your area.
     
  15. zoebaggins thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2011
    #16
    I guess whatever I have in my bank account at time of launch will give me my answer, aha. Thank you for reminding me of another option and verifying the T-Mobile issue.
     
  16. AppleFanatic10 macrumors 68030

    AppleFanatic10

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    Location:
    Encino, CA
    #17
    It all depends on your area & which Provider had the best service in your area. If you have friends with different companies that own iPhones ask them how the service is or you could look at the website to see if they have enough coverage in your area. In my opinion, AT&T sucks, but thats just in my area. There have been times where my Verizon coverage isn't very good and AT&T excels. Same for Sprint.

    Data wise, luckily I got locked into my unlimited data plan ages ago so I'm good with the data usage. Most people I know only use about 2GB of data because they use mostly wifi. But if you're someone like me who loves to use 3G data then I'd advise you to get up to at least 4GB of data. But that's only if you can afford it. Even though I have unlimited data this month I've only used 2.6GB of data this month but mine fluctuates a lot.
     
  17. AppleFanatic10 macrumors 68030

    AppleFanatic10

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    Nov 2, 2010
    Location:
    Encino, CA
    #18
    This is just my opinion but I think that T-Mobile has given up on getting the iPhone...
     
  18. taedouni macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    California
    #19
    If LTE is available on Verizon in your area then I recommend using Verizon.
    Also be sure to check out discount pricing with your EDU (work) address. Verizon offers me around 20% discount, AT&T use to give me a 10% discount.
     
  19. MattMJB0188 macrumors 68000

    MattMJB0188

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    Dec 28, 2009
    #20
    What about when your NOT in a 4G area? Then all you have is their slow 3G? At least with AT&T you have HSPA+ or even their 3G which is light years faster than Verizon.
     
  20. sarcosis, May 11, 2012
    Last edited: May 11, 2012

    sarcosis macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2006
    Location:
    These United States
    #21
    You might want to be on the look out of other places you will go. While Verizion's 3g is slow, at least you get the 3g voice and data coverage. I've been on AT&T's 2g network with my 3g phone, and the voice is fine, you better hope that 2g is actually working. Some places, I'll get 8 kbps down. Other places, I've gotten .5 kbps. And that's with full signal strength. Granted, I was out in the sticks, but it's some place I visit frequently, so it makes a a difference.
     
  21. BFizzzle macrumors 68020

    BFizzzle

    Joined:
    May 31, 2010
    Location:
    Austin TX
    #22
    sprints voice quality is crystal clear though! i was amazed from it compared to my att. but the data was god awful. really. at beast i would get 1 mbps.
     
  22. chokem macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 7, 2012
    Location:
    Searcy, AR
    #23
    As everyone has stated, I'd go with whoever has the best coverage. In my area, its AT&T. I've been with them for 7 years now, and am satisfied with the service and CS dept.
     
  23. davidahn macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Apple Valley, CA
    #24
    Another Perspective on Comparison

    I read the biased post by MattMJB. Here's MY biased opinion:

    1. AT&T: 3G is nice, and they have the fastest 3G speeds... WHEN YOU HAVE SIGNAL. Worst network coverage of the 3 majors in my experience. In my area (Victorville-Apple Valley, CA) and on many trips, coverage was so bad I gave up the iPhone 3G and got a Palm Pre. This is the network that INVESTS THE LEAST in infrastructure.

    2. Verizon: the best, most even coverage by a long shot. I was SO glad to get the iPhone 4S when Verizon got it and I was out of my Sprint contract. Not only the most expensive, but THE WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE EVER. I spent dozens of hours and 5-7 calls on the phone to get charges removed for usage incurred by the person who stole a phone from me. Then another 4 hours over multiple calls just to turn on international roaming before our Paris trip.

    3. Sprint: The most reasonably priced, and 2nd in network coverage to Verizon in my experience. The best customer service (they actually want to keep customers). I'm probably going back to Sprint after my Verizon contract is up because of Verizon's horrible customer service, but I worry about their data speeds, though; on the Palm Pre I was getting 100-300 kbps, which was PATHETIC.
     
  24. -Knight- macrumors 6502a

    -Knight-

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #25
    I'm currently with At&t now with a unlimited plan on my iPhone4, I added my wife to my account and got her an iPhone3GS to see if she will like it since she was an android user but I could not get her unlimited data. If not for the wifi at home and work I would be screwed with the data bill on her phone. My contract is done and my wife has another year I think and I'm thinking of maybe switching her to Sprint for the unlimited data plan. Even if it's a little slow i'll save money. Being in Miami I would hope there service is okay here though.

    If you think you are going to use the data a lot then consider Sprint cause cause paying for extra data when you reach your limit sucks. You don't think you will use a lot of data but you will be surprised how fast it goes.
     

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