iPhone AT&T versus Verizon

2011 May 3


I and my iPhone 3G have been with AT&T for two and a half years and I recently told them to “STICK IT”.  Parting is such sweet… well, it’s just sweet.

For the first year or so, I was happy with the iPhone, its features and the service.  I was a good girl; I didn’t jailbreak it, I didn’t tether it to my PC… Didn’t really have a need to I suppose.  But then things changed.  My job keeps me on the road 95% of the time and I wanted more out of my iPhone featurewize such as, saving email attachments, print wirelessly, access the underlying file system to store files like a thumb drive, and download data over the 3G network that was typically limited to WiFi – including using Skype.  Traveling around the country, I experienced countless dropped calls, having to reestablish the same call four or more times.  I also discovered that I only had a signal slightly more than half the time.  Apparently, there simply is no signal in a big chunk of this great country of ours.

So, I set out to make these things happen.  I figured out how to jailbreak the device which opened up a whole new world.  All of those features and more were now available to me.  Since the Feds ruled that jailbreaking is NOT illegal, I didn’t feel guilty at all.  I might not have felt too guilty had the ruling gone the other way either, but I guess we’ll never know huh?  Apple doesn’t like jailbreaking, but hey, that’s just tough I reckon.

One of the awesome apps I discovered way back when was MyWi which allows me to tether my iPhone to my PC and provide an internet connection over the 3G data network.  It worked perfectly.  With this capability and my so called “Unlimited Data” plan with AT&T, I used it for email, web browsing, updates to my GPS, downloading my podcasts and iTunes purchases and more applications and… downloading my TV shows.  It’s that last one see… that was my downfall.  I had no idea what my monthly data usage was, but it was a lot, had to be 20+ GB per month.  What did I care though, I had unlimited data, right?

Mind you, this was before tethering was a thing.  AT&T got wise and they did away with their unlimited data plans in favor of new plans with caps.  And they announced a tethering option to their capped data plans.  That had to be for new users though.  I was special wasn’t I?  I called and they told me I was grandfathered in and still had “unlimited data”.  Well alrighty then.  I continued on my destructive path with the approval of the man.

Eventually though, I started getting letters from AT&T – We notice your large data usage and wanted to let you know that you can take advantage of AT&T WiFi hotspots around the nation for free. – Well, I checked for hotspots and once, I found one so I tried it.  It was so slow.  And I’d have to sit in a McDonalds or whatever to use it.  So, that wasn’t working so well, so I went on about my business using my unlimited data from AT&T.  During this whole time, I was still experiencing numerous dropped calls and a pure lack of signal in many places.  But, with my unlimited data, I tolerated the poor network.

The letters continued, informing me of hotspots and urging me to lower my data usage.  One of the form letters stated that my data usage was 99.9% greater than other users and as such… Wow, I was surprised; and a little proud to be honest.

Then I got emails from AT&T wanting me to get the tethering option for $45 more per month.  Huh?  But I have unlimited data.  You want me to pay another $45 per month for even more unlimited data?  Perhaps thou dost not understand the definition of “unlimited”.  Just in case, I looked it up.  Dictionary.com says it’s an adjective which means – Not limited or restricted in terms of number, quantity, or extent.

I called and made my argument and asked them to leave me alone.  I also informed them that I was tolerating the many dropped calls and lack of signal because I had this one great feature and if it weren’t for that, I would have left long ago.  They left me alone for a couple months but I guess I got dropped in that bucket of customers to hassle some more and they sent me an email which started We notice your service plan may need updating. They drew a line.  They said if I continue tethering, I would automatically be “upgraded” to a data plan that capped out at 4GB for my phone and for tethering combined.  And it said if they didn’t hear from me by April 16, 2011, they would automatically “upgrade me”.  The end is near.

I called them and asked where in my contract it said I couldn’t tether.  They of course could not point that out because tethering didn’t exist when I got my phone and plan.  They did point out another clause that referred to “untoward impact on our network” and other such phrases.  It was the general escape clause, that which could be used for just about anything; their get out of jail free card.  I was worked up and to her credit, the lady on the other end of the line kept her cool but couldn’t really answer my next question.  “Are you willing to lose customers over this?  Apparently, they are.

So, I told them to stick it and I went to Verizon the very next day.  I got hooked up with an iPhone 4 and voice and data plan; unlimited supposedly.  We’ll see how long that lasts.  I was happy with the sales people and the experience and I walked out of there with new phone with old number and I didn’t miss a beat.  As soon as I got home, I jailbroke it and now I’m back in business.

Almost a month later and the Verizon network is awesome. I have not dropped a single call and I have coverage just about everywhere.  Only twice have I seen the phone searching for a network and it found one pretty quick, unlike the AT&T phone which would search for hours sometimes even though I was on the move.

So far, I’ve had unlimited data and no one has said anything.  I admit though, I have been making an effort not to abuse it.  So, now I have a lower monthly bill, reliable voice communications, unlimited data, an iPhone4 instead of the 3G, and I’m happy.

Pros and cons to Verizon

  • The Verizon iPhone is a CDMA device, so roaming in Europe and some other countries is not possible since they use mostly GSM networks.  AT&T phones use GSM.  But, since I have no current international roaming plans in my near future, I’m cool with that.
  • Verizon iPhones cannot use the data and the voice networks at the same time.  My 3G on AT&T couldn’t either, so I’m OK with that too.  The AT&T iPhone 4 can apparently.  This is something to weigh if you are considering making the switch.  AT&T’s ads now are focusing on this feature.  “Only AT&T can give you voice and data at the same time – blah, blah, blah…”  Well, I argue that that isn’t saying much if I can’t get a signal, now is it?


  • A comparatively awesome network.  Great voice and data coverage truly nationwide.
  • Verizon is much nicer to deal with.
  • Lower monthly bill
  • Verizon supports Skype over the data network.  AT&T limits Skype to Wifi connections only.  Another good reason to jailbreak your AT&T iphone.

I did notice one thing that urks me about the Verizon iPhone 4.  In the Photos library, photos are not in order.  On my 3G phone, they were all in order according to name, but on the iPhone 4, I can’t seem to get them in an order, which really bothers me.  It’s not a carrier issue, but an iPhone issue.  I’ve found numerous reports of this problem on iPhone 4 from both carriers, but so far, there is not a fix from Apple.

Reader beware, this article may seem slightly biased.  My relationship with AT&T grew old, we became distanced and fell apart, we didn’t see eye to eye anymore.  My new beau Verizon, treats me right.  This new affair is new, it’s fun and still novel.  Aren’t new relationships lovely?

Note: In hindsight, I do wish I had taken a serious look at the HTC EVO or Thunderbolt from Sprint and TMobile before making a final decision.  They look pretty hot.  Oh, ya see, my eyes are wandering already.

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