Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is an AT&T to Verizon iPhone switch possible?

People currently with Verizon: I truly believe your dreams have come true. The iPhone 4 is the best phone, Verizon the best network. You are in a good place to have your wishes answered. But what about you people that already have an iPhone? Is it time to throw in the blue AT&T towel?

Well, that all depends on a number of things. The first is whether or not you have problems with AT&T's service. There could be any number of problems that result in degraded signal quality or slow speeds, such as geographic location, distance from towers, local population all attempting to access the same network, and the device's antenna integrity. Whichever it may be, if you hurt for better service or at a point were your iPhone is nearly unusable for calls and data, a Verizon switch may seem like the only option.

Secondly, deciding whether or not to end your service with Ma Bell depends if you're still on contract. For those that don't straight-up buy their phones so to avoid contract, chances are that early-termination fees are substantial, especially if you bought an expensive device like the iPhone 4. Even so, that iPhone 4 won't work on Verizon, so here's to your endeavors for the Verizon-iPhone pipe dream.

Another point of speculation is wondering whether or not enough people will switch over to Verizon so that AT&T's 3G network becomes less crowded and faster. There's no telling how much network traffic will dwindle, but I'm willing to bet not much (if at all). If you live in a not-so-great an area for service, don't expect that all your problems will go away once Verizon iPhones take up a little slack. Chances are that Verizon's network will eventually see much more data than they do now and possibly even choke up in heavy-use areas. Given all these factors, I've realized that almost everyone in AT&T iPhone contracts won't care much for Verizon's offering; that is unless of course they are due for a contract renewal and upgrade in the first place.

While we're still on the cons about the Verizon iPhone, you should be aware of the no voice and data and the same time thing. For many this is not a big issue, but for yours truly, I don't think I could live in that world -- a world were I can't check for movie times while talking to a friend about which movie we should see.

And one last con for Verizon iPhone users is that the iPhone Apple is releasing early next month is still a purely 3G devices, while Verizon has been fervent in its efforts to promote its new "Rule the Air" LTE 4G campaign. That's right, LTE (long-term evolution) technologies by Verizon can be expected nationwide in a few years and are already rolled out in major cities. However, many industry onlookers say that you shouldn't expect to see Apple implementing 4G radios in their phones until the iPhone 6, which would be somewhere around summer '12. That seems like quite a time to wait, but as they say, we'll just have to wait and see...

In all this news and speculation, really the best position to be in right now are those folks that still have yet to even buy a smartphone -- those that have been hanging out with their usable flip phones and Razors, watching their friends having fun with iPhones, Palms and Androids. Your day has come. It's time for you to enter the next decade.

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