Friday, January 21, 2011

What's The Difference Between the Verizon iPhone and AT&T iPhone?

On February 10th many AT&T customers might be jumping ship. There are many people who are unhappy the way AT&T have been managing their plans lately. Fees added and restrictions put on accounts here and there do not make for a happy bunch of consumers. So when it was announced that Verizon would be getting the iPhone, many of the AT&T customers let out a collective sigh.

Aside from the phone being on a different carrier and people being able to take advantage of different plans and pricing options, many people are very unaware of what this means as far as the devices themselves are concerned. There are a lot of people out there who do not know too much about how cell phones work and why the same phone on two different carriers could be so different. Let me see if I can shed some light on this for you.

When a cell phone is contracted to go to a certain cellular provider, the manufacturer will either add or omit certain features or abilities of the phone. It is not uncommon for many features to be "locked" depending on where the phone is going. The same phone on two different carriers can be very different. The iPhone is no exception.

The biggest difference between the two is the antenna that is used by each carrier inside the device. Verizon iPhone will be compatible with the 3G EV-DO standard with download speeds of up to about 1.4mbps. AT&T iPhone by contrast are on the UMTS standard which is capable of average download speeds of about 3mbps. Now this is much more, about double what Verizon can push out. But this will be changing in the near future.

Another factor which may be important to some people is the fact that AT&T will allow you to be on the Internet and the phone at the same time. Actually, this is because the UMTS standard is capable of voice and data simultaneously. Verizon uses CDMA which cannot do voice and data at the same time because of certain limitations with that type of signal.

Although many people see this as a bonus for AT&T users you have to think.. is it really? How often can you see yourself using the Internet and the phone at the same time? Sure there are situations that may call for it, but they are few and far between. So this is not really that big of a deal.

On thing that IS a big deal is Verizon's ability to Hotspot. With the Verizon iPhone you will be able to create a hotspot for up to 5 devices at the same time. For those who do not know exactly what this means, let me give you a scenario where this would come into play.

Say you and 5 of your best friends are all on a trip somewhere. Sadly, there is no Starbucks nearby and you cannot just walk into the local Home Depot and find a spot to sit down and use their Internet connection. But you all have to get on the net because there is a new poodle necklace you all have to purchase before the sale ends. And trust me, doggie bling is all the rage these days!

So you, with your trusty Verizon iPhone tell everyone not to worry because you have it all figured out! You whip out your phone and set up your Wi-Fi bubble and instantly turn your phone into a Wi-Fi Hotspot. So now your 5 lucky friends can turn on their laptops and connect to your Wi-Fi signal that you are broadcasting from your iPhone and get onto the Internet. The poodle club is saved! All because of your Verizon iPhone!

AT&T can only provide a tethered connection for one device at a time. And then, only through the Bluetooth connection. So while it is a solid connection it is a hassle to setup the first time and 1 connection is many less then 5... am I right?

So aside from this what else does VZW have going for them? Well, Verizon has a much more reliable network. This has been proven time and time again over the last couple years. Verizon has probably got the best connection rating out of all the major carriers. So an iPhone on the Verizon network will serve you much better than on the AT&T network.

With all this it will surprisingly still come down to the calling plans for most. Not to mention a lot of customers will still be on contract for some time with AT&T. getting out of the contract will be costly for most. So there will be many people playing the waiting game, unless they opt-out and pay the early termination fee. However that is a rather hefty charge for most. Overall the iPhone for Verizon will eventually perform better than with AT&T, but it may be a few months before that dream if finally realized. People may still be better off going with a Droid or Blackberry unless they have a strange affection for Apple and it's devices and strange OS. Either way this is a strong move for Verizon. With the Blackberry Playbook on the horizon and the iPhone around the corner, Big Red stands tall in the market. It may be some time before someone else takes the crown.