Thinking of switching from AT&T to Verizon: Talk me in or out of it

hipnetic

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 5, 2010
958
284
So, I'm currently on an older AT&T family plan with 3 phones, 2 of which are grandfathered on unlimited data. Also, 2 of my 3 phones are eligible for new 2-year contracts, and the 3rd will become available for that in December. I could also opt to switch over to one of the new mobile data share plans, if I wanted to, and buy the new phones with Next. I ran the numbers and it makes the most sense, financially, to go with the 1st option, plus I'd keep "unlimited" data on 2 lines, which would be nice (yes, I know that they're not truly unlimited data - they're more like 5GB plus unlimited slow data after that).

But I'm also thinking (as I do every so often) about the possibility of switching from AT&T to Verizon. I live in the suburbs north of Hartford, CT, and I know that Verizon is considered to have the best network in this area. But AT&T hasn't been awful. Most of the time when I drive around, I have a signal with AT&T and very rarely do I actually hit a dead zone. But if Verizon truly is a bit better, I might be willing to pay a bit more monthly for that better service.

Now, the signal in my house is poor with AT&T (0 to 1 bars), but with Verizon it's only 1-2 bars, so still not usable. So I use an AT&T Microcell in my house, and if I switched to Verizon I'd buy their version of the same thing (it's too bad that neither AT&T or Verizon are supporting the iPhone 6's Wi-Fi calling feature at launch).

So the purpose of this thread is to hear some opinions from others, ideally others who switched from AT&T to Verizon (or vice versa) with their take on what's better or worse about Verizon vs AT&T. I'm looking for opinions about service quality, customer service, useful features that one offers that the other doesn't, etc.

If anyone has personal experience using both AT&T's Microcell and Verizon's femtocell device (made by Samsung), I'd also be interested in hearing your experiences with them, and if one seemed more reliable than the other. My AT&T Microcell works great when it's working, but I've had occasions where my iPhone is no longer using it and is instead attempting to use the weak tower outside, where I'm only getting 1 bar of coverage.
 

carjakester

macrumors 68020
Oct 21, 2013
2,226
55
Midwest
Only thing you really give away is the talk and surf at the same time, which will be getting fixed soon. Verizon is a bit more expensive but I noticed the service is much better.
 

justin216

macrumors 6502
Mar 31, 2004
376
99
Tampa, FL
I've had more consistent and reliable service with Verizon. That's going to vary area to area, but I travel extensively, and am still with Verizon at the end of the day. The LTE experience just tends to be better.

Verizon iPhones are factory unlocked now, but even if you don't take advantage, that's still a resale perk.

Verizon also sounds like they'll be the first U.S. carrier to roll out VoLTE en-masse.

Caveat is the phone selection can be worse, if you like getting internationally-released phones or similar, as those tend to only work with GSM carriers like AT&T.
 

troop231

macrumors 603
Jan 20, 2010
5,398
148
I've been with every US carrier for a minimum of 3 years. I can tell you from experience Verizon wins hands down. Paid an ETF to leave AT&T just to be on the best network.
 

ZombiePete

macrumors 68020
Aug 6, 2008
2,221
934
San Antonio, TX
Where I live AT&T is far and away better than Verizon. It costs less, has better coverage over a far greater area, and is in general nowadays a friendlier and more responsive company than Verizon. My two cents.
 

sillywabbit

macrumors 6502a
Nov 10, 2012
592
4
First and foremost, AT&T sucks!

That said, I would go with Verizon, because they are #1!!!!!


However..... If you have unlimited data, that would be enough for me to stay and put up with crappy AT&T service!
 

Tsquare

macrumors member
Feb 10, 2008
87
4
I love Verizon. My sister in law has ATT, she was over last night and we both did speed test. Verizon was double the down and almost double the up speeds. I'll keep Verizon as long as possible.
 

erayser

macrumors 65816
Apr 9, 2011
1,080
699
San Diego
If Verizon has better coverage in your area, I would do the switch. That was the main reason why we switched from Verizon to AT&T. We were under contract with Verizon when we switched and they knew that the coverage was bad in our area... so they allowed us to terminate the contract without paying the ETF. Verizon's customer service was great and understanding... which is why I am still a Verizon customer today for my mifi LTE data plan. However, phone coverages still very poor in our area. I'm happy with both carriers.
 

sinister184

macrumors member
Jul 5, 2014
88
22
I've been on at&t since Cingular days, i just switched to Verizon for the iphone 6. Both have great LTE coverage in my area but thee in building signal penetration on at&t is crap. I got tired of no signal at work when all my Verizon coworkers are riding on full signal.
 

mnsportsgeek

macrumors 68000
Feb 24, 2009
1,626
946
Thinking of switching from AT&T to Verizon: Talk me in or out of it

Verizon is cheaper for me with their free 1 GB of data per line and corporate discount.

So I won't talk you either way:

1. Get whoever has LTE in your area.

2. If both, get whoever is cheaper.

3. If same price, get AT&T for simultaneous talk & data for the 3 times you will use it a year.
 

macguy360

macrumors 6502a
Feb 23, 2011
792
207
AT&T clearly outsources customer support to India. You can tell when you call or use the online chat to talk to someone from customer service. It is very frustrating because when you call customer support, you are already having some sort of issue you need solved, then add to that the language barrier and you have a not so fun time.

From what I can tell, Verizon either keeps all of their customer support in the U.S. or makes sure their customer support is very good at English. I am not sure which it is, but give it a try talking to both customer supports and you will notice a huge difference.

This is just one consideration for what carrier you decide to fund.
 

benboy12

macrumors regular
Apr 5, 2014
161
22
Verizon has the best service in my area, but every area could be different. For me, its worth a little extra to have service everywhere.
 

aristobrat

macrumors G5
Oct 14, 2005
12,245
1,312
Verizon was first to bring LTE to the area where I live, so I switched from ATT to them a few years ago. I couldn't believe that ATT was only doing 4G here when Verizon was boasting about LTE here.

In hindsight, it turns out that Verizon did the LEAST amount of work to get LTE running, and then they left. The next year, as more people got LTE phones for the first time, Verizon's LTE network got slower. Year after that, even slower, and frequent times where if you were in a crowded area (like a mall), LTE wouldn't work at all. Verizon LTE here is now usually slower than ATT 4G.

What ATT did was make sure all of their towers had a fast Internet connection. Their LTE speeds also slowed down over the last two years but are almost always way faster than Verizon.

So now, 3-4 years after installing their weakass LTE network and doing nothing while its performance tanked, Verizons finally back here fixing it.

I know every market is different, but in this one (which is the largest in the state), I have no confidence in Verizons ability to be proactive with managing it.

I was initially pissed at ATT for taking longer than Verizon to get LTE here, but their network hasn't turned into a poop-show here, unlike Verizons.
 

YPSteven

macrumors member
Sep 14, 2014
56
27
I used to be a BBYM and Radio Shack associate so I know the strengths of both networks. Here is what I would ask you. What is important to you? If all around data speed is important to you I'd select AT&T for both data plan options. Understand that IF you choose the shared data LTE uses more data than your standard HSPA that you can use with AT&T but not verizon. I have LTE turned off on my 5 bc of not having LTE where I live and it's a data/battery hog. So for this reason AT&T is better. Pricing wise AT&T is better as well. I am currently on the Mobile Share plan with GB with NEXT and for my wife and I's lines we will be paying around $62. With 5 iPhones and one basic on there it's around $200/ month with no subsidys after my discount.

For myself call quality is of little importance. I make 2-3 calls (maybe) a week. Back to data speed. What most people don't realize is that when you aren't on Verizon LTE their data is slow (like EDGE slow). So, if you want LTE turned off to save data and/or battery you will sacrifice speed hardcore. With AT&T your phone will catch HSPA+, HSPA, 3G, or EDGE when LTE is not available. All except maybe EDGE are considerably faster than Verizon's non LTE data. So if call quality and a little faster LTE is more important than go to Verizon otherwise I'd stay with AT&T. They simply have a faster overall data network.
 

hipnetic

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 5, 2010
958
284
Thanks for all of the replies. As I mentioned before, my AT&T service is actually pretty decent most of the time, and I rarely find myself in a dead zone. That's part of why this is a tough decision. I'm *pretty* sure that Verizon is better in my area, but my current service is usable and I'd hate to switch and find out that there are some areas where my AT&T service somehow ends up being better.

I just had an online chat with a Verizon rep and she indicated that I could sign up for a new plan and get an iPhone 6+ and within 14 days I could return it and just pay a $35 restocking fee. Supposedly I wouldn't have to pay for any portion of the monthly plan (which I believe conflicts with the info a girl at the local Verizon store told me). If true, this could be worth trying out. But there would still be a pretty big problem: Because of the limited supply of iPhone 6's at launch, it wouldn't make much sense for me to try to do this immediately. If I got a single iPhone 6+ for me on launch day, and within 14 days made the decision that I liked Verizon and wanted to stay with them, I might not be able to score two more iPhones for my wife and daughter. And even if I could score 3 iPhone 6's on launch day (which I probably can't - and I'm not sure which model my wife or daughter would want), I'd hate to find myself deciding we should stick with AT&T and then having to pay a $35 x 3 restocking fee.

So, now I have to decide if I just want to stick with AT&T or if I really think I might want to try Verizon, I would probably want to just wait until there was plenty of supply of 6's to go around.
 

mac.cali

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2012
1,347
245
Maybe you can get a prepaid verizon sim and try it on one of your devices if its compatible.
 

ToroidalZeus

macrumors 68020
Dec 8, 2009
2,301
821
Not worth the switch. I'm on the complete opposite coast but the same fact about a better verizon service rings true here. With that said it's not so much better it's worth switching over to and losing my unlimited plan. From the description of your service it sounds like you are in the same situation.