AT&T vs. Verizon - not sure what I should do?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by ladytonya, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. ladytonya macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2008
    I'm trying to decide whether to switch from AT&T to Verizon so I searched the forums here to see other's thoughts. I've read several threads about people's experiences with Verizon and I still can't decide! I've heard nightmares about Verizon and their billing practices, but I always pay attention to my bills and would be a thorn in their side until they were correct. Anyway, I am still undecided because I think switching would pretty much be a wash but thought I might come here for some feedback.

    Currently on AT&T, we have FamilyTalk Nation 1400 with Rollover for $80 plus an additional $9.99 per phone, so for two iPhones it's $89.99.
    We pay $30.00 per iPhone for unlimited data (we haven't been throttled yet, *knock on wood*).
    Messaging is $5 for 200 texts on hubby's phone and $15 for 1500 messages on mine, although hubby has gone over a time or two in the 2 years he's had a texting plan I never even approach 1500.
    Total bill before taxes and fees currently with AT&T is $169.99.

    We have unlimited data so I've been reluctant to switch but we never use 1400 voice minutes, most of our calls are mobile to mobile or A List calls, I think we have close to 15,000 rollover minutes at this point! LOL! I'm not concerned about the voice, whether we keep what we have or go with unlimited share plans on either service.

    The hubby is paranoid to switch because he doesn't want to lose unlimited data but we don't use more than what is offered with the share plans now. If I look at recent usage reports for data over the past 6 months, the most hubby has used is 4.7 GB, with most months running closer to around 3 GB. The most data I've used is 2.6 GB with most months running closer to 1.8 - 2 GB. So combining the most data both of us have used in the last 6 months, we could potentially use 7.3 GB of data in a month.

    If we switch our plan to AT&T's Mobile Share, it would be $90 for 6GB plus $35 per phone for $160 or $120 for 10GB plus $30 per phone for $180. I wish they had something between 6 and 10, I'm afraid we could go over 6 but don't think we would ever approach 10. Switching to this plan would also give me the ability to use my phone as a hotspot for my iPad which could come in handy from time to time but wouldn't be something I would use regularly, at least I don't think I would but if I had the option I might.......

    If we completely ditch AT&T and switch to Verizon, their Share Everything plans are really very similar to AT&T's Mobile Share except they do offer an 8GB data option.
    Verizon's plan with 6GB of data would be $80 plus $40/phone, or $160, same as the total for AT&T 6GB Mobile Share.
    With 8GB of data, it would be $90 + $40/phone, or $170, and this isn't an option with AT&T.
    With 10GB of data, it would be $100 + $40/phone, or $180, same as the total for AT&T 10GB Mobile Share.

    Ugh! This is why we can't decide! Do we lose unlimited and go with Verizon? Verizon does offer better coverage with less dropped calls locally but we've just grown accustomed to the dropped calls after two years. When we switch to the iPhone 5, will we use more data because it will be faster? I don't know and won't know until we get the phone. Because it's faster, we might do more with it. Plus, if we get the faster phones, will that trigger throttling from AT&T on our unlimited plans so we'll hate it so much we'll have to switch to Mobile Share anyway?

    See, I am the most indecisive person in the world who happens to be married to the second most indecisive person in the world, only he doesn't care that much about the technology. As long as he can stream his music he'll be happy, that's why he uses as much data as he does, he pretty much streams Spotify many hours per day.

    Anyway, I guess I'm just looking for opinions as I'm out of ideas. All I know is that I want a new phone! LOL! Wow, this post got really long. Hopefully somebody can give me some feedback that will trigger something to make me decide!
  2. aneftp macrumors 601

    Jul 28, 2007
    Very long winded post....but here's my take

    1. You have 14000 rollover minutes
    A. Ditch the 1400 minute plan and go down to the 700 minute plan ($60 plus $9.99). That's a $20/month savings. You lose all 14000 rollover minutes and start over with 700 minutes but does that really matter? Probably not

    B. Call "ATT "Save team"...aka Retentions. Threaten to cancel. The Retention team will give you $20 family unlimited texting. Plus give you "A-list" even with the 700 minute plan.

    2. Keep unlimited on ATT. Do you have a FAN (corp discount?). FAN discount usually applied to $30 unlimited data plans PLUS voice discounts. FAN discounts will not apply to mobile share lines (the $40/smartphone line). FAN discount will only apply to the mobile share data. So if you have a 6GB data plan, you will only get a discount on the $90/6GB data share. You will not get a discount on the $40/smartphone access line.

    This is all assuming you have good ATT coverage over Verizon.
  3. ProudLoz macrumors regular

    Aug 26, 2012
    If you both get the iPhone 5 on the LTE network with your husband streaming music like he says he does, I can almost gurantee you that he'll end up using more data due to the fact that the streaming service will give him a higher quality stream due to the higher bandwidth that he's getting due to LTE. Now, some will give him the option to stream on a lower quality stream, but as far I'm aware, most are automatic.

    Now, I noticed that you mention that on your line you have the $5 200 texting plan, and that your husband has the $15 1,500 texting plan. That puts it to around $20 total. Then, you also mentioned that you usually never reach those 1,400 minutes that your family plan has since you both call mobile lines (most likely on AT&T) and A-list people. So why not try this out.

    Why not switch your family plan to the cheapest one on AT&T, which would be the $60 Family Plan with 500 Minutes, and then add Unlimited Texting With Mobile to Mobile Minutes Plan for $30. So the setup would look like this.

    $59.99 500 Minute Family Plan
    $29.99 Unlimited Texting with Mobile to Mobile
    $29.99 Unlimited Date for 1st iPhone
    $29.99 Unlimited Data for 2nd iPhone
    $9.99 Additional Line
    $159.95 Total Before Taxes


    $89.99 1,400 Minute Family Plan
    $4.99 200 Texting Plan for 1st iPhone
    $29.99 Unlimited Data for 1st iPhone
    $14.99 1,500 Texting Plan for 2nd iPhone
    $29.99 Unlimited Data for 2nd iPhone
    $9.99 Additional Line
    $179.94 Total Before Taxes

    So, it looks like you'll be saving a total of $20 a month before taxes if you switch to the cheaper plan with unlimited texting and mobile to mobile minutes plan. Now remember, this will only work only IF you call mobile phone numbers ONLY. Meaning, no landlines calls. Those will use up your minutes, but since you'll be able to transfer all your rollover minutes you already have, it shouldn't be an issue. I'm also using this setup, but with 5 iPhones. :eek:

    This is all using the prices from the AT&T Website as of right now.
  4. aneftp macrumors 601

    Jul 28, 2007
    OP needs A-list. Remember that.

    If you switch to Verizon, you will pay at least $20 extra a month even if you have corp discounts compared to what you get on ATT.

    ATT: $60 plus 9.99 ($70) for voice 700 (with rollover and unlimited mobile to mobile) plus $30 x 2 for unlimited data. That's $130 plus $20 for unlimited texting. So $150 (before corp discounts on both voice and data). Plus OP can ask for A-list from Save/retentionteam.

    Verizon $40 x 2 for smartphone access. Plus $70 for 4GB data. $150. Verizon does not discount smartphone access.

    Remember the 550 minute plan does not have unlimited mobile to mobile or A-list option from ATT.
  5. ng-design macrumors member


    Jul 18, 2011
    It's too early in the morning for me to do math, so I'll leave that to others. But I will give you my experience, after spending 2 years on AT&T and then switching to Verizon.

    AT&T is faster. That's their reputation, and I've found it to be true. When I was in an area with a good signal, AT&T was blazing.

    The problem was (and still is) that their coverage is terribly inconsistent. Sometimes I found myself in the downtown area of major cities and I had NO signal. I'd look over at a friend's phone on Verizon and they had 4G. That was the last straw. I switched to Verizon in October 2011 when I bought the iPhone 4S, and I've never looked back.

    I have strong coverage with Verizon everywhere I travel, even the most rural areas, where most of my family lives. I am happy to have consistent coverage in exchange for speed any day.

    With regard to billing issues, they do tack on a lot of random crap. I think my bill is $20 higher than the advertised price due to misc. fees, taxes, etc. It's annoying, but other people seem to report it too.

    In any case, I would never switch back to AT&T. I had them in 2002 and then again from 2009-2011. Not much changed. They still have spotty coverage.

    Good luck!
  6. ladytonya thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2008
    Hmm, interesting. Yes, I know my original post was long winded, I tend to be very verbose both when writing and when speaking :eek:

    The only reason we signed up for 1400 minutes originally was because that was the minimum we could do with A List. I do sometimes have to call landline telephones because we don't have a landline, our cells are our only phones. The few landlines that I call regularly are on my A List but of course there will be occasional calls that I have to make that won't be A Listed.

    The LTE thing for my husband is my concern with his streaming. He listens to Spotify or Sirius XM pretty much all day at work. He also listens in his car as the phone works better than his car's satellite radio. LOL! Anyway, in his office he is on wifi for now but if his boss figures out he's using it she'll change the password so that option could go away at any time. At home of course he would always be using wifi.

    Another part of my indecisiveness is network speed. Verizon is MUCH faster and has better coverage, especially for me. Where I work, I have 2 bars on Edge with AT&T. I can send and receive texts but if someone calls me I have to call them back on my office phone. Also at our apartment, we have a MicroCell because the AT&T signal is so bad there.

    I guess part of it is fear of the unknown, I've had either AT&T or US Cellular for years and have never had Verizon. I've heard people complain about their billing, but all companies have their issues, customer service isn't what it used to be.

    See? There I go again with the long winded post! Thanks for the info, though, it is definitely food for thought. If all things were equal, I'd just stay with AT&T, but Verizon's coverage is better. Decisions, decisions.
  7. aneftp macrumors 601

    Jul 28, 2007
    Just remember the iPhone 5 DOES NOT support voice/data on Verizon because it's on the same chip. Verizon's android LTE phones support voice and data.
  8. SeniorGato1 macrumors regular

    Jun 28, 2010
    Besides the math as others have posted, consider the following:

    1) I'm using my iPhone 5 more than the iPad 3 as it renders webpages very fast and the larger screen in landscape is a step up. = more data

    2) I tend to use more data as I'm able to check more webpages during any given time.

    3) I'm also listening to more web streaming music and started watching Hulu during my commute - an hour show seems to consume around 300mb. (thank goodness for unlimited Verizon!)

    4) Do you use data during a call? Verizon does not currently support this.

    5) LTE coverage area. Is your area supported? Verizon has far more coverage should any of you travel often.
  9. ladytonya thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2008
    My understanding from the research I've done online is that AT&T is just HSPA+ locally, we do not have LTE/4G even though if you ask an AT&T agent they will tell you that we do have 4G. Verizon does have LTE/4G in town but not out in the county. I spend most of my time in Asheville and West Asheville. When we travel, no matter which direction we go there is dead time with no AT&T signal. This could be the same with Verizon, I don't know because I've never used them.

    The data use issues is why I am seriously considering Verizon, that plus coverage. Someone posted above that Verizon has signal in many places that AT&T doesn't. They have better coverage here in the mountains and they offer an 8GB data plan where AT&T only offers 6GB or 10GB. I have unlimited data with AT&T right now but I know that at some point that will get throttled. Once that happens, I will want to switch to Mobile Share so why not go ahead and switch now?


    Oh, and thanks for the reminder about voice/data. That is something that I have considered but I only very occasionally use it. I use both at the same time so seldom that I don't think I would miss it.
  10. ProudLoz macrumors regular

    Aug 26, 2012
    You're right, my mistake. If the OP is going to take advantage of the $30 Unlimited Texting with Mobile to Mobile (Any Carrier) Plan, OP needs to sign up with the $69.99 700 Minute Plan which is $10 more than what I suggested. Which gives the OP a savings of $10.

    With the OP's recent post, I highly advice that you go for the Carrier that provides you with better coverage. There's no need to stick to a carrier with fantastic phones, and ****** coverage. Just keep in mind that if Verizon does have LTE in your area and you both get the iPhone 5, your usage will spike if you're streaming anything. This is something to keep in mind.

    Also, check with co-workers, family, or even friends that have Verizon to check their coverage and ask whether they get 3G or LTE speeds with their phones. This will help you a lot, the last thing you want to do is switch and find out that Verizon is just as crappy as AT&T's coverage. You never know.
  11. aneftp macrumors 601

    Jul 28, 2007
    Agreed. OP can just try Verizon service out for 14 days. It may cost them a little bit of money to have both Verizon service and ATT service. But after 14 days, OP can make the complete switch over to Verizon if they are happy with the service. That way they keep their ATT unlimited data until they are completely sure they are happier with Verizon.

    I have both Verizon and ATT service. So fortunate to have both. I know Verizon's strong hold areas (cause I travel quite often). But I know ATT's strong areas as well. People will argue one service over another. But all service is local. Like you said go with service that works for you.
  12. ladytonya thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2008
    Now I didn't think about trying Verizon for 14 days, that might just be an option! I can keep my 4 with AT&T while trying the 5 on Verizon. Hmm, that might just work!

    Thanks for the feedback, I knew I could get some answers here! Still kinda concerned about the extra charges that I read about popping up on people's bills but I can always keep an eye on that.....
  13. Bruins Fan macrumors member

    Bruins Fan

    Oct 8, 2012
    Boston, MA
    But can they port their phone numbers over from AT&T after Verizon has already established new numbers without adding additional lines they don't want/need?
  14. aneftp macrumors 601

    Jul 28, 2007
    Yes. It's easy. I started Verizon service in Dec 2011. Kept my old number at tmobile for one month. Than transfer my old tmobile line to Verizon via their online service to replace the new Verizon number I got when I started the service.

    It's free to switch and port if u do it online. U just need acct number of service u will be porting over. Took 2 hours. Easy.
  15. wookiee2cu macrumors member

    Apr 7, 2009
    If you change your talk plan you lose unlimited data so don't do that. The biggest thing for me switching to Verizon would not being able to do voice and data at the same time.
  16. ladytonya thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2008
    Like I said earlier, I don't care about voice and data at the same time. I may have used it twice in two and a half years......

    As for unlimited data, it's going away for all of us eventually. Right now I have it, but as soon as I start getting throttled I'd do away with it anyway. Locally, most of the reports have been that once people upgrade to the iPhone 5 and start getting the faster data speeds, they start getting throttled. I know of 5 people that it's happened to. A friend who works for AT&T wireless told me that the only real way to guarantee keeping unlimited and not getting throttled is to not upgrade but that from what she's seeing from customers, as soon as you start getting that HSPA+ speed (that's the fastest we have here, no 4G yet) you get throttled and it is really bad.

    I really appreciate all of the input here, it helped a lot! Ultimately, I think we're switching to Verizon. Verizon has better coverage, has LTE, and I just found out this morning that my husband gets a discount through his employer! Bonus! Now I just gotta find a 64GB white phone.........
  17. ProudLoz macrumors regular

    Aug 26, 2012
    That's great, you get to save more money!

    However, I'd just like to let you know that maybe you have been misinformed about the throttling. The throttling happens based on whether you have 3G/4G (HSPA+) or LTE on an unlimited data plan. This happens to any smartphone with unlimited data, whether you upgrade or not.

    With 3G/4G on AT&T, you have a 3 GB of fast data that you can used before you get throttled. For some 3 GBs is enough data to make it through the month enjoyfully, and for others it's not enough, but at least you don't get charged for going over. Once throttled you get speeds of .5 Mbs/s or lower, which sucks.

    With LTE, you get 5 GBs a month before you get throttled. This is definitely enough for just about anyone. I just hit my 5 GBs alotment yesterday and I am no throttled at .5 Mbs/s on LTE. Thing is though, I don't really "feel" it like on my iPhone 4S. On the 4S, when I was web browsing, I would notice how slow the web pages would load. On the iPhone 5, even on the 4G network I don't really see that happening. Web pages still load fast, and I don't notice any major slow downs. This could be because the iPhone 5 has a better antenna, or AT&T has improved the towers around my area.

    The throttle is noticeable with watching videos though, regardless of the device.

    I also believe that AT&T chooses which cap you're going to get based on your data plan. Since the iPhone 5 is registered with the "Unlimited iPhone Data Plan on LTE" it'll cap you at 5 GBs, even if you're mostly on a 4G network like I am at my job.

    Another thing to note is, if you have any regrets, you have 30 days to get your old account and lines back on AT&T if you notice that Verizon isn't any good like you thought it would be. I had a similar scenerio when I switched to Sprint since they advertised they had LTE in my area, and when I found out that I didn't get LTE at home, and practically no service at work, I had to switch back to AT&T and they did it without any hassles. I had to visit an AT&T store, but they managed to get everything back to normal, even my unlimited data plan which I thought I had lost forever.

    Cheers OP! :D
  18. ladytonya thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2008
    I live in the mountains, cell phone coverage sucks. I have three bars of Edge sitting right here at my desk at work. At home, I have a MicroCell and the only reason I can surf is because it's over WiFi. We have no AT&T LTE here, just spotty 3G. Verizon coverage is amazing! I was with a friend last night and we were comparing signal. She was on LTE driving all over town, I was all over the place between 3G and Edge. Until I really started looking at it the past day or so, I never realized exactly how bad AT&T is!

    As for my data, we haven't been throttled. Yet. Last month, I used 2.8GB and my husband used 3.9. Month before that, I used 2.5 and he used 3.7. Highest month, back in May he used something like 5.9GB. We will be throttled, it's only a matter of time.

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