Why I’m Not Buying a Verizon iPhone

On Tuesday, Verizon announced they were going to sell the iPhone starting February 3 to existing customers and February 10 for everyone else. As the resident geek to a lot of people, they all have been asking, “Are you going to switch?” Here’s why I’m not going to switch.

I’m currently locked into a 2 year contract with AT&T. I don’t know what the Early Termination Fee is for AT&T, but it simply isn’t worth it for me to cancel my current service, pay a fee, and then jump to another carrier for the same exact phone.

GSM vs. CDMA. In layman’s terms, Verizon uses CDMA cellular technology for their phones while AT&T uses the GSM standard. Aside from Verizon and Sprint in the US and China Telecom in China, the vast majority of the world uses GSM for their cellphones. Why does this matter? When it’s time for me to upgrade to my next phone, I can easily unlock a GSM iPhone and sell it on eBay to almost anyone else in the world. When I broke my original iPhone, it was unlocked and I sold it on eBay for $150. One hundred and fifty dollars for a broken iPhone. I don’t think it’s quite as easy to sell a CDMA phone to use on another network.

Another limitation of CDMA is that it can’t transfer voice and data at the same time. What does this mean? It means that if you’re talking to a friend and trying to meet up at a restaurant or a bar, you can’t open up the Maps application, search for the name of the bar and get directions while talking on the phone with them. It means, I can’t receive a phone call from a customer, open up Dropbox to retrieve a job quote and email it to him so we can both look at it at the same time. I can do this now on AT&T but not on Verizon (This will change once 4G and LTE come around).

And finally, I don’t need to. You hear a lot of negative press on AT&T and how their coverage is horrible. I think it really depends on your experience. In the places where I spend most of my day, my coverage is above average. Sure I have calls that drop but that mostly only happens when I’m driving and that’s to be expected (Verizon people, chime in on this and prove me otherwise). I have friends who have consistently horrible reception in their homes and routinely drop calls or have texts come in hours later. For instances like that, I’m glad they now have a choice of carrier if the iPhone is their phone of choice.

Posted on January 13, 2011 in Apple, iPhone, Tech.
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