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Verizon or AT&T help
Old 10-05-2013, 04:50 PM   #1
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Verizon or AT&T help

DW and I each have an iPhone 4S, and we're coming to the end of our contract period.

Now the iPhone 5S beckons (we love the idea of the fingerprint sensor), and if the past is any guide we will start being unsatisfied with the battery life on our current phones before too long.

I've examined the plans online, and for our level of talk/text/data usage the cost of Verizon or AT&T would be exactly the same on a new contract. So money is not an issue.

So here's the question. We like to travel everywhere in the USA (Canada means a special plan for any time we spend up there). And I plan to buy an unlocked iPhone 5C just for European travel.

Which carrier, Verizon or AT&T do you recommend, and why?

My experience with AT&T over the last 8 or 9 years has been excellent. But I have no experience with Verizon. Both have good coverage in the area where we live, so I'm just asking about your experience while traveling. Any input would be most welcome.
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Old 10-05-2013, 05:10 PM   #2
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I just realized I should add one more point that seems significant. With AT&T, I can carry on a phone conversation while surfing the internet at the same time. That's a feature that has come in handy for me several times (looking things up, checking maps, etc.). AFAIK, you can't do that on Verizon.

Just one differentiator, but I wonder if any Verizon users have ever wanted that feature but felt frustrated at not having it?
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Old 10-05-2013, 05:21 PM   #3
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We've driven up and down the east coast (Maine to Fl) and south from Chicago to Fl many times on Verizon and had good coverage the entire time. I tried to go with Sprint network earlier this year but had very bad coverage issues so we resigned with Verizon. I would expect similar levels of good coverage around the high population areas for both AT&T and V. The southwest and western states may be different, though.
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Old 10-05-2013, 05:25 PM   #4
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I just realized I should add one more point that seems significant. With AT&T, I can carry on a phone conversation while surfing the internet at the same time. That's a feature that has come in handy for me several times (looking things up, checking maps, etc.). AFAIK, you can't do that on Verizon.

Just one differentiator, but I wonder if any Verizon users have ever wanted that feature but felt frustrated at not having it?
It sounds great on the commercials, but I have never wanted it and for me, I think it would be awfully confusing to try to do both at once. If you look up the definition of klutz in the dictionary you will see my photo.

I don't travel much any more, but when I was traveling to major cities from coast to coast for work, or driving through the rural south for pleasure, I had perfect connectivity with Verizon. Actually I do not recall ever encountering a "dead zone", except once, when I was going through a tunnel.

I never had AT&T so I can't really tell you about that.
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Old 10-05-2013, 05:39 PM   #5
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I tried both AT&T and Verizon and for me AT&T was a better choice (better signal in places that matter to me).
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Old 10-05-2013, 05:52 PM   #6
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It sounds great on the commercials, but I have never wanted it and for me, I think it would be awfully confusing to try to do both at once.
Actually, it's simplicity itself.
You're having a phone conversation and your friend asks you the address of some company.
You hit the speakerphone button to continue the conversation at arms length while you switch to the browser and look it up.
Later, you can switch back to the phone to end the call.
Nothing to it (this is quite common in Europe) and very handy on the occasional need for it.
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Old 10-05-2013, 05:59 PM   #7
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I travel the lonely roads of the west - mostly far west/south west. Verizon has always had the best coverage for me.
I currently live on the edge of town in a hilly location. Verizon is the only service that works here.
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Old 10-05-2013, 07:14 PM   #8
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Long time Verizon user here who wishes I could surf and talk at the same time...But, I do also have an AT&T MiFi; so, with a bit of twiddling, I can.

I have devices on both networks for the coverage: In some areas, Verizon is the best or only choice; in others, it is AT&T.

No slam dunk answer of one over the other for me yet.
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Old 10-05-2013, 08:04 PM   #9
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Never been a Verizon customer, my experience is with AT&T. Good signal, worst customer care I've ever had. When this contract is up, goodby. YMMV.

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Old 10-05-2013, 09:50 PM   #10
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Verizon customer here, and where I travel (mostly the US Midwest and Southeast) I can almost always get a signal, even in rural Mississippi and Alabama. You might take a look at coverage maps to see if there are any areas you frequent that are left uncovered by either one. Last time I checked Consumers Report, they also rated Verizon the best for coverage.

I don't know anything about talking and surfing the web. I am on track to become the last person in the US without a QWERTY keyboard on his phone (and happy using over-the-air broadcast television, too!)
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Old 10-06-2013, 03:01 AM   #11
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I've been a customer of both and really don't love either one, but would slightly prefer dealing with ATT. That said, overall I think Verizon has better coverage overall. Currently we are with Verizon. However, it is solely because our subdivision has very poor ATT coverage and average Verizon coverage. In fact, Verizon is the only service that is realistically usable in this subdivision (I would love to do T-Mobile otherwise).
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Old 10-06-2013, 06:19 AM   #12
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Sounds like a tossup for most.
FWIW, in over eight years and several phone changes, I've never had anything but outstanding AT&T service, so that seems to be different from many people.

We'll probably stick with them. The devil you know is better than the devil you don't know ...
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Old 10-06-2013, 09:31 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post

Actually, it's simplicity itself.
You're having a phone conversation and your friend asks you the address of some company.
You hit the speakerphone button to continue the conversation at arms length while you switch to the browser and look it up.
Later, you can switch back to the phone to end the call.
Nothing to it (this is quite common in Europe) and very handy on the occasional need for it.
Thanks for explaining that, didn't know the details on how. That's something I can see value in. Now gotta figure out how to steer with my knees. No no.

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Old 10-06-2013, 10:53 AM   #14
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So here's the question. We like to travel everywhere in the USA (Canada means a special plan for any time we spend up there). And I plan to buy an unlocked iPhone 5C just for European travel.

Which carrier, Verizon or AT&T do you recommend, and why?

My experience with AT&T over the last 8 or 9 years has been excellent. But I have no experience with Verizon. Both have good coverage in the area where we live, so I'm just asking about your experience while traveling. Any input would be most welcome.
The international travel is what makes the difference. AT&T has been on the GSM bandwagon (same radio technology as Europe), while Verizon has been on the CDMA bandwagon (same as Japan). Oh, and Canada has been all over over the place. Now they are all converging on LTE, which is really good, but LTE coverage is still sketchy in many areas of the world.

So... stick with AT&T, and this should minimize your troubles in Europe (it's more than the SIM card, the phone itself is different, i.e. its inner radio components).

(speaking of experience as I travel a lot for business)

===
PS. I was trying to avoid all the crazy acronyms, but 'GSM bandwagon' means GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA, HSPA, etc. While 'CDMA bandwagon' also means 1x and EV-DO... Oh, and '3G' or '4G' are rather generic terms across all those wonderful technologies...
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Old 10-06-2013, 11:00 AM   #15
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I just ordered my IP5S from AT&T, its a bit cheaper for me than Verizon as we already have an AT&T family plan. AT&T has better overall coverage than Verizon in our area but MIL is in an area much better covered by Verizon (so I chose AT&T?) There are more vagaries with cell phones, I was in Black Rock Desert NV in Sept and a friends Verizon has very limited reception, DW's iphone 5 had good reception, and my iphone4 had zip, previously my old Sony phone had good reception.
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Old 10-06-2013, 11:17 AM   #16
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I chose, and keep, ATT because it covers more countries internationally for their data plan (for Europe this shouldn't be an issue - I assume Verizon has similar coverage for those countries -- outside of industrialized countries, ATT comes out better).

I have had Verizon previously for US cell phone service, and overall think their coverage is better than ATT around the country (including where I live near Washington DC). That being said, I just did a 10,000 mi US road trip hitting 30 states or so, in both very rural and very urban areas. A bit surprising to me, the only time I didn't have cell service with ATT was near Little Bighorn in Montana. If I were choosing a new plan, I guess I would take a close look at both coverage maps with an eye to those actual places you care about having cell access. "Best" coverage is very place- and individual-specific, and depends on where you are and where you are going.
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Old 10-06-2013, 02:33 PM   #17
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The international travel is what makes the difference. AT&T has been on the GSM bandwagon (same radio technology as Europe), while Verizon has been on the CDMA bandwagon (same as Japan). Oh, and Canada has been all over over the place. Now they are all converging on LTE, which is really good, but LTE coverage is still sketchy in many areas of the world.

So... stick with AT&T, and this should minimize your troubles in Europe (it's more than the SIM card, the phone itself is different, i.e. its inner radio components).
Thanks! That's a very useful point.
I know the earlier iPhone models were like that (one of the main reasons I started with AT&T for my first iPhone (the original model) instead of Verizon.

But I am under the impression that all iPhone models now have the same innards. Not true?
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Old 10-06-2013, 02:42 PM   #18
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This may not apply to you, but there are places in east Texas that I have no coverage with Verizon. I went from ATT to Verizon in 2008 when I moved to Wisconsin. Seemed to be the best up there, but since I've been back down south in TX & LA, not so much. I'm 99% sure I'll be leaving Verizon fairly soon...but not sure whether I'll go back with ATT or try one of the pay as you go services. I don't want to pay for phone-internet.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:38 AM   #19
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Thanks! That's a very useful point.
I know the earlier iPhone models were like that (one of the main reasons I started with AT&T for my first iPhone (the original model) instead of Verizon.

But I am under the impression that all iPhone models now have the same innards. Not true?
I would be surprised. It would be very expensive (cost of inner components) for Apple to do it like that. Anyhoo, no point taking a chance since the (US) pricing is roughly the same as you pointed out.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:37 AM   #20
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DW and I each have an iPhone 4S, and we're coming to the end of our contract period.

Now the iPhone 5S beckons (we love the idea of the fingerprint sensor), and if the past is any guide we will start being unsatisfied with the battery life on our current phones before too long.
I would make sure you and your wife try out IOS7 before getting the new phones. DH and I also planned to get new iPhones. My DH upgraded his existing iPhone 4S to the new OS so we could try it out. Within minutes I realized that the new OS would not work for me. I suffer from extreme motion sickness and cannot watch 3D movies or play FPS games. Within minutes of trying the new OS I realized that I would not be able to us the interface because of the new way it does zooming, which CANNOT be turned off. So we are now waiting to see if Apple addresses the issue (doubtful). If they do not, we will wait and switch to something else when our current phones give out. Its pretty sad since we have been loyal iPhone users for over 5 years.
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