Opinions please: Los Angeles - AT&T w/unlimited plan or Verizon for coverage?

srcampana

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 22, 2010
34
0
Los Angeles, CA
Hi. I read these forums regularly (though I rarely post) but the time has come for me to seek some informed opinions. I currently have AT&T with unlimited data. I have a 4S but the "4G" speeds are a freakin' joke. I've NEVER had pages load fast, no matter where I am (LA, OC, Seattle, NYC, Vegas, Phoenix, etc.). My friend's 4S on Verizon will load espn.com or pretty much any other page faster than mine. Plus, the dropped calls or "Call Failed" calls are annoying. However, unlimited data is hard to give up.

If I switch to Verizon, I'll have a shared plan with my LTE iPad, and supposedly have better coverage everywhere. Plus, at crowded events my phone will still work to text or call (AT&T is notorious for not working at these events, i.e. - USC football games). I'll actually end up paying less per month for Big Red as my aunt and brother would join the plan (both don't use any data but said they'd pitch in anyway).

I did two speedtests yesterday (not real world usage, I know): at my apartment with 4G - 1.28 down/0.28 up/ 115 ms, and then at a restaurant a few miles away - 3.89/1.08/98, all pretty pathetic. A friend has the new iPhone with Verizon and he shut off LTE and did the speedtests and got 1.26/0.79/218 and 1.24/0.83/83. Then we both would load various webpages that weren't cached and his beat mine every single time. So Verizon's "super slow" 3G is still faster than what I've been getting with AT&T HSPA+. :confused:

I should state: over the past year I have never gone over 1.5GB in a month (I'm an wifi a lot), which I find odd because I don't hesitate to do anything with my phone (of course, I haven't been using Spotify, which will change).

I currently live in West Hollywood but may end up moving (depends on job) to Seattle, DC, Denver, Texas, or who knows where, but my goal is to stay here.

Based on these factors, what would you do????

Thanks!!! :)

(I've done some searching on the subject already and I see "speedtests" but those aren't real world usage)
 

nikhsub1

macrumors 68020
Jun 19, 2007
2,081
872
mmmm... jessica.'s beer...
I can't comment on verizon or ATT's LTE coverage but it is widely known that verizon has more coverage... with that said, I keep att with the iphone purely because it is the only network that can do simultaneous voice and data with it. Plus at my house LTE speeds rock.
 

KoukiFC3S

macrumors 6502a
Jul 4, 2010
535
1
I've been getting excellent coverage with LTE on Verizon. I'm mostly in OC and go to LA in the weekends.

I would make the switch.
 

jlake02

macrumors 68020
Nov 2, 2008
2,260
1
L.A.
Really depends what's most important to you but I'd think hard before dumping that unlimited. Check the threads on this board about how much data the i5 sucks down with LTE.

AT&T is definitely behind Verizon with LTE coverage but it will catch up. If you can wait 6-9 months I bet most of CA will be blanketed with it. Personally, I'm irked I don't have LTE in my area but I'm willing to wait awhile in order to keep my 5gigs (before throttle) at $30.

GL!
 

nlkccom

macrumors 6502a
Sep 18, 2008
841
826
Some areas I've been to over the weekend: Pasadena, San Gabriel, Monterey Park, Alhambra, Arcadia, Glendale, OC...

I had both my iPhone 4 with AT&T and iPhone 5 with Verizon with me. Verizon consistently have better coverage with stronger signal everywhere I've been this weekend. I'm paying much more for Verizon than AT&T, but it's all worth it.
 

AlvinNguyen

macrumors 6502a
Jun 23, 2010
820
3
If you like a big range of coverage Verizon is best. That thing about AT&T not getting service at big events annoy the **** out of me. Especially during NYFW and I can't get my tweets out. Try walking through time square with my AT&T iPhone and its worthless. Switched to big red and never looked back!
 

nlkccom

macrumors 6502a
Sep 18, 2008
841
826
If you like a big range of coverage Verizon is best. That thing about AT&T not getting service at big events annoy the **** out of me. Especially during NYFW and I can't get my tweets out. Try walking through time square with my AT&T iPhone and its worthless. Switched to big red and never looked back!
Can't agree more. LA and NY is well known for horrendous AT&T coverage.
 

amyangel

macrumors regular
Sep 12, 2012
132
37
Verizon has more coverage, but i'm loving my LTE speeds on AT&T plus for me, keeping my unlimited plan with AT&T is a plus.
 

srcampana

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 22, 2010
34
0
Los Angeles, CA
Thanks! I'm still seeing what my data usage goes to with the new iOS...I've heard it's bad but mine seems pretty stable.

Just for fun, I thought I'd post the greatest Speedtest of all time (my friend just started at UCLA - this is with ethernet on his MBP):
 

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foxnews1

macrumors 6502
Mar 16, 2010
384
0
I am in the same situation as OP's. I have IP4 with AT&T last two years in charllote, NC. signal is great outside but is dead inside buildings. I got iP5 with verizon now and now I have signal inside building, though still have AT&T account while trying out Verizon.

AT&T advantages:
1) unlimited data (compared to 1GB of data from verizon)
2) cost less

Verizon advantages:
1) wide coverage, including inside buildings
2) wide LTE coverage

I thought it would be an easy decision since I hate AT&T with bad signal but now I have to worry about using over 1GB of data on verizon. Verizon costs more even with only 1GB of data.
 

Mliii

macrumors 65816
Jan 28, 2006
1,126
3
Southern California
I'm a long time AT&T user.
In my opinion, their OVERALL coverage in the greater LA area is not as good as Verizon's.
Having said that, there ARE places where AT&T's IS better. LA is too complicated a geographic area to make a blanket statement about coverage. It really depends on where in LA.
Also, if simultaneous voice and data is important to you, AT&T is your only option at present. I use this feature quite a bit, which is why I've stayed with AT&T.
 

Wildgift

macrumors 6502
Sep 21, 2007
403
16
Switched from AT&T. No comparison. 16.67 lte in pacific palisades. Aside from the data usage issues, which should get sorted, I'm glad I dropped my unlimited AT&T plan.
 

Ntombi

macrumors 68040
Jul 1, 2008
3,341
1,062
Bostonian exiled in SoCal
I live in Long Beach, and drive all over SoCal. Depending on where I am, LTE speeds are just okay to really good right now, but they're going to get better. For me, because I'm on wifi a lot, LTE speed alone isn't enough for me to switch from AT&T. My pages load very quickly, maybe in 1.5 seconds instead of 1. When I'm out and about, I really need to be able to use voice and data together, especially because I use my GPS almost constantly while driving.

Keep in mind, I switched from Verizon in 2008, when the iPhone 3G came out, and haven't regretted my decision yet. I can count the number of dropped calls I've had on two hands for all those years, and my 3G, "4G," and now LTE service has been either really good or good enough. Now that I have the 5, I haven't even seen 3G at all, it's all 4G or LTE. :)

Except when I go to the Bay Area. :eek: I have times where I'm even back on EDGE when I'm in SF and San Rafael. If you were up there, I'd say switch to Verizon, but down here, I think either is good.
 

Fernandez21

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2010
4,566
2,780
Upgrade to the new iPhone on AT&T, use it for the next two weeks and if the coverage still isn't good, return it and switch to Verizon. You have a 30 day return window when you upgrade to cancel the new contract without early termination and revert back to your old contract.
 

fins831

macrumors 6502a
Oct 7, 2011
657
0
Upgrade to the new iPhone on AT&T, use it for the next two weeks and if the coverage still isn't good, return it and switch to Verizon. You have a 30 day return window when you upgrade to cancel the new contract without early termination and revert back to your old contract.
best advice
 

ipoddin

macrumors 65816
Jan 6, 2004
1,022
78
Los Angeles
I don't have unlimited with AT&T but considering returning the 5 for a Verizon version. AT&T has no lte in the SF Valley, and that's where I live. And when I am in an lte area the speeds are not impressive at all. The attached was taken at LAX and is pathetic!
 

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srcampana

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 22, 2010
34
0
Los Angeles, CA
Upgrade to the new iPhone on AT&T, use it for the next two weeks and if the coverage still isn't good, return it and switch to Verizon. You have a 30 day return window when you upgrade to cancel the new contract without early termination and revert back to your old contract.
Yes, this is the best advice and what I've been trying to do - problem is, I can't get an AT&T iP5 for a month now and I already have a Verizon iP5 since launch day (I've been trying it out and still have kept my AT&T service too).

I think I'm switching. It's only 2 years. If I miss AT&T, I'll move back. It's not like the unlimited plan is actually unlimited anyway. And, by then, both companies will probably have kicked everyone off unlimited plans anyway, so it'll be the same, only difference being service.