Reasons for Not Switching to the Verizon iPhone 4 – and Why I Did Anyway

Yesterday, the day after the new Verizon iPhone 4 was released to the general public, I ported my number from my AT&T iPhone 3G over to the Verizon iPhone 4.

Many of us have heard reasons why to dump AT&T and jump over to Verizon. But I did get a few reasons (and, in all fairness, I did ask for them!) why I *shouldn’t* have upgraded to the new Verizon iPhone 4. They are as follows:

1. A new iPhone 5 is coming out this summer.

Given how Apple tends to be tight-lipped about product development, I can’t imagine this being more than a rumor at this stage, but assuming it’s true, so what? When you get a phone at a discount price in the US, it is based on signing a two year contract – an eternity given the rate of change of technology, but something we as consumers put up with to pay a much more reasonable price (for both the phone and the service plan). But since Apple typically has a new phone release every summer, there is always the argument, “well you could wait….”

2. Can’t use data and voice at the same time on Verizon, while that’s not an issue with AT&T.

Well, due to the restrictions with CDMA technology this is true, in which case incoming calls will go straight to voicemail if you’re using data. (Edit: I stand corrected per the comments – the call will go through, and data will be cut off.) If you’re using 3G data on AT&T and someone is trying to call you , the call will go through. But again, so what? My phone is for personal use only, and in the past couple of years I’ve never had the need to use data while being on a phone call. (And I’m not sure I’d even know how! :-))  If anything, a call coming in while I’m using data would actually be more of an annoyance for me. However, I do know some folks for which they use their iPhone for work, and so I can see for them how the ability to have a call come in at any time would be critical.

3. AT&T 3G data is faster than Verizon 3G data.

I can’t find a published reference confirming that, but I do know that if I go up to the mountain cabin, where each provider has one cell tower dedicated to only a town of 3000 people, then I could see how that would be true. But that doesn’t reflect my reality most of the time in more populated areas. In the area where I work, AT&T 3G is more noticeably slower during lunch compared to other times of the day (not that it’s fast during other times of the day either), so the slow speed appears to be due to a capacity issue with AT&T. In fact, sometimes switching to 2G/Edge during lunch would even be faster! (And, by the way, 2G/Edge doesn’t support voice and data at the same time.) The reality for me so far is that Verizon has been faster more times in more places.

And, finally, a fourth reason which I forgot in my original post, but have now added:

4. GSM technology used by AT&T is the defacto worldwide standard, while the CDMA technology used by Verizon is not as prevalent.

Another true statement, but I’m not going to base my choice of phone on the 0.5% of the time that I may be out of the US. Furthermore, international roaming rates with the AT&T iPhone are high, so that it often is cheaper to buy a cheap cell phone with a prepaid SIM card in the country you’re visiting. Ideally, it would be nice to put the foreign SIM card in your iPhone, but that won’t work with an iPhone purchased in the US, as they are “locked” to only accept SIM cards from AT&T.  I unlocked my iPhone 3G to accept other SIM cards, but that process isn’t for the average user. In any event, swapping a SIM card isn’t even an option for a Verizon iPhone, since it doesn’t use a SIM card, so I plan to hang on to my unlocked old iPhone 3G for the occasional overseas trip.