Since I have an ancient iPhone 4 (a hundred years old in smartphone years), and my two-year AT&T contract is up, I knew that I'd be getting an iPhone 5 once it was released.
I've been going back and forth about whether to stick with AT&T or jump to Verizon. We have shitty AT&T reception at our house, but last year AT&T sent me a free 3G Microcell device that uses wi-fi to boost my iPhone's bars dramatically.
That solved the problem of making and receiving calls at home.
But my wife and I also have been bothered by how bad AT&T's cellular coverage is generally. Driving into Salem we hit dead spots. And when the electricity goes off, the Microcell thingie stops working, making our whole house into a dead (or nearly dead, one-bar) spot.
So I've decided to dump AT&T and get an iPhone 5 through Verizon, probably via a 4GB shared data plan contract. Cost for a two-year deal is the same for both AT&T and Verizon, so the choice came down to coverage.
Here's what sold me on Verizon:
-- Verizon's 4G LTE coverage is much more extensive than AT&Ts. Now, I don't really know what LTE is. I just know the iPhone 5 uses it and it's faster than 3G. So I want it! According to a Verizon map, AT&T currently has no 4G LTE coverage in Oregon. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
-- Today a friend handed me his Verizon Android phone when he came to our house. I took a look at the bars. Four. Sometimes five. Out of five. In the same locations where we get zero or one AT&T bar without the Microcell device. A relative who has Verizon on his iPhone echoed that experience last year.
-- I got a haircut today. Betsy, my long-time haircutter, and I talked almost entirely about iPhones. She's thinking of getting one after being a Verizon Android user, like the guy mentioned above. Betsy has been talking with her other male customers about whether AT&T or Verizon has the best iPhone service. Universally, she's hearing "Go with Verizon."
After my haircut I checked out what Betsy had said: "Right here close to downtown Salem, my customers can barely make a call on an AT&T phone." I had two bars on my iPhone 4. That's pathetic. I was about eight blocks from downtown. AT&T coverage sucks.
I've heard quite a few other stories about how people with Verizon phones are happily chatting away while AT&T customers are searching for a place to get a connection. It's time to say goodbye, AT&T. When you were the sole cellular service for iPhones obviously there was a good reason to sign up with you.
Now it's Verizon time.