The Apple iPhone 4 will finally be available on the Verizon Wireless network on February 10th 2011, but the real question now is whether or not you should get one. Is it a smart buy at this point in time?
This author says no. Here is my explanation.
First, the iPhone 4 that launches on Feb 10, 2011 will be a 3G and not a 4G-capable smartphone running on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. Second, Apple has shown repeatedly that they release updates and newer models of their products on a very consistent and regular basis, and the Verizon iPhone in all likelihood will not be any different.
That means that in roughly another 6 months, we can probably expect a newer model of the iPhone, and quite possibly one that operates at 4G speeds. Regarding 4G vs 3G speeds, it has been shown in repeated tests (even ignoring Verizon’s claims) that 4G downloads clock in at 12 Mbps (Megabits per second) and up, including as high as 30 Mbps, while 3G speeds are in the 2.5 Mbps neighborhood. Upload speeds are similarly divergent.
Even if you have doubts about the Verizon’s network ability to withstand a sudden surge new customers with 3G and/or 4G phones, consider that even if the 4G download speeds were halved, they would still be impressively better than the 3G speeds.
Although, I don’t believe this to be major factor in considering Verizon over AT&T, currently CDMA technology (which is what Verizon uses for its cellular communication) does not allow for simultaneous data and voice communication. What this means is that you can’t speak on the phone and surf the Web at the same time.
AT&T’s GSM-based cellular network does have this capability, so consider wisely if this is important to you. However, simultaneous voice plus data communication on CDMA network is being researched and will be available at some point.
Regarding the perception of AT&T’s network being inadequate, the reality is that it does depend largely on where you are, which means that if you already have reasonable coverage and reception with AT&T, you should not make the switch to Verizon. Consider too that the monthly costs are largely the same, but that you will need to buy a new device (you can’t take your existing AT&T iPhone) and may incur both termination and activation fees.
To sum up, take a deep breath before you follow the herd over to Verizon or even buy an iPhone for the first time. It is not quite as simple of a proposition as “Verizon is better than AT&T”.