Goodbye, AT&T?

The Verizon iPhone has arrived! That means we’re all abandoning AT&T, right?

Not so fast… As Gizmodo and the Houston Chronicle point out a few reasons it could make sense to hold out a bit longer. Their primary argument is based on an assumption that Apple will maintain its annual summer release cycle and new 3G-only Verizon iPhone 4 customers will be locked into a contract, unable to upgrade to the latest and greatest.

However, as I tweeted yesterday, the only new feature I need is coverage. Unfortunately, in the office where I spend a large percent of my waking hours, Verizon is the third worst provider. Yet there’s a pretty significant gap between AT&T’s non-existant coverage and Verizon’s spotty reception. It’s doable. And outside of the office, I would expect far fewer dropped calls.

I informally polled 11 coworkers with AT&T iPhones, and I’m actually the only one considering a switch to Verizon. Masochists! I assume many are stuck due to the new, large $325 early termination fee. And others have family plans that would be difficult to disassemble. Whereas, my wife and I have separate accounts and my 3GS ETF is down to a mere $85 at this point. (Calculate your AT&T iPhone ETF here.)

My defection from AT&T is certain, but where I go next is still up in the air. Ironically, AT&T could have trapped me months ago, like so many others, with their new ETF. But for reasons no human at AT&T or Apple can divine, Skynet has never offered me upgrade pricing on the iPhone 4. (I suspect it’s related to a small discount on voice service I receive through AT&T Premier.) Verizon, too, has left the door open. As I can’t actually purchase their iPhone 4 until February 10th. Well, HP happens to be holding “an exciting webOS announcement” February 9th. Conventional wisdom suggests a new tablet entrant. But webOS 3.0 on a modernized smartphone hardware could tempt me. Especially if it’s on Sprint, given flawless coverage in the office and their favorable pricing.

15 thoughts on “Goodbye, AT&T?”

  1. We have been on a Sprint family plan for about 9 years. Everywhere I go (except the middle of nowhere in northern Michigan) I get great service. I’ve not once had a large complaint with the hardware I’ve used; Treo, HTC Mogul, and now a Palm Pre. I am so looking forward to the webOS news on the 9th though.

    The number one thing that really does keep us with Sprint though is price. We’ve combined some family members on our account so we pay a total of $206 for 5 lines of service with the only limitation is 1400 daytime land-line minutes.

  2. I have no plans to dump AT&T at the moment. First i’m still under contract, but even if I wasn’t I’d still wait to see what’s happening with the iPhone 5 first. Rumor has it that AT&T will get it first. Third, the inability to use voice and data at the same time is a major disadvantage. Yes I’ve used both at the same time, especially when my parents call me to have me Google something since they refuse to buy a smart phone. :)

    Finally I’ve not seen enough problems to get me to switch. Yes some places I go are dead zones, but the places I’m normally at are fine.

  3. I don’t know why you don’t just get a microcell. I’ve put them at the rents, and the ranch house, they work pretty darn well. It was FREE from AT&T and yes while it uses my bandwidth at the location it doesn’t cost anything MORE than that. I even picked up one of the moshi moshi handsets (great sound by the way) for use at the ranch house since I don’t like actually holding the cell to my head for more than about 10 minutes a day. :-)

  4. I actually live in an area where AT&T service is pretty strong. And I travel to many uber-rural areas where AT&T reigns as the better provider so I’ll be staying with them for the moment. But I’m pretty happy knowing some of the extra load from iPhones might be reduced with some folks moving to Verizon now.

  5. You could get a personal signal enhancer, I used them before the femtocell/microcell products came out. They are more $$ than a microcell (anything more than the FREE from AT&T is $$, but the good ones run about 250$) but work across multiple frequencies and providers. Again, YMMV, but I went from no bars to 3 bars at the ranch and PIL with the signal enhancer. They really DO work. No network integration involved, so nothing could ever be compromised. If you buy from like an amazon if it doesn’t work it can go back from free. :-)

  6. Link, yep we have phones and computers. But not under my control and I don’t sit at my desk 100% of the day. (And my wife is actually a long distance call. Not that I know what sort of calling/billing is in effect.) Some days, I just want to stream XM with my earbuds in. Not an option with no service. More importantly, most folks only have my cell number, which means I have to remember to forward my calls every day or what more often happens is I miss all calls and can’t retrieve voicemail (until I walk outside and across the parking lot). No service is a liability regardless of how much I actually I utilize it. And it just kinda pisses me off since I’m paying for service I don’t receive. Not to mention the dropped calls when I actually do have service.

  7. While I certainly understand the folks that are in data-congested areas wanting to jump ship and I can sympathize with them being frustrated with AT&T I’ve had really great service from them (Atlanta).

    The only inconvenience I’ve experienced was at a sporting event or concert trying to SMS out or use data. Then, understandably, it’s pretty congested.

    If I lived in San Francisco or New York City and was frustrated with them I’d be tempted to wait it out for another year with my theory being: As numerous people jump ship from AT&T to Verizon that means AT&T will be freed up in the data-consumption arena and should, at worst, have better connectivity, and, at best, might actually end up being a little better than Verizon.

    I could be wrong, though. Perhaps Verizon has all of the premium cell tower spots and even if you were the only one on AT&T’s network you’d still have problems.

    Either way, I think I’d give it a year before deciding unless my phone was simply unusable to me.

    I have the MicroCell at home. Got it pretty cheap with various rebates. I don’t really need it in my home but I tend to move every so often and, as my only phone, it -really- sucks when you’re mobile doesn’t work in your home. It works fine. I can see on my iPhone that I have full M-Cell coverage throughout my home.

  8. You’d switch to WebOS? You are a glutton for punishment. :-) I mean, it is a nice OS and all, but the likelihood of it ever seeing the majority of the apps for iOS and Android is slim to none. WP7 is shaping up to have more marketshare, and that’s not saying much. We’re probably going to end up with Android, iOS, Blackberry, and Symbian, in that order, dominating. Yes, I think Symbian is going to keep sliding, if Nokia doesn’t just give up on it. And the Symbian numbers tend to include S40 feature phones, etc, when it should really just count S60/UIQ/^3 smartphones when comparing to the others.

    Anyway, HP has a LOT to prove when it comes to WebOS. No matter how good they make it, they’re up against an army of Android devices, and the cult of Apple.

  9. Let’s just say I’m willing to have an open mind since I can’t actually make a purchase until the 10th. What I like about webOS and WP7 is the unified OS/ experience, compared to Android which is a bit of a mish mash. Of course, as you say, Android and iPhone dominate the app options. Although WP7 offers Sling and Slacker… but the HD7 is a little bit of last year’s tech (on T-Mo) and there are no CDMA options yet.

  10. Hey Dave, I’m not sure if this was a typo, but there’s virtually no chance of HP announcing webOS 3.0 on Feb. 9th. They’re still in the process of rolling out 2.0.

    As far as the mish mash of Android: I was watching the Engadget interview with Matias Duarte (the designer behind webOS) on his transition to working with Android. It was clear to me that his hands were tied by the “legacy” of Android (funny for an OS that’s been in use for 2-3 years now). It doesn’t seem to me like he’s going to be able to accomplish the level of polish of webOS with Android any time soon.

    As far as webOS vs. WP7 – go with the OS that has cut and paste! :)

    And totally unrelated: the webOS homebrew community has just delivered wifi tethering for all carriers for free. My “old” Sprint Pre just got a new lease on life.

  11. I’m sticking with AT&T primarily because of the SIM card. My day job doesn’t allow camera phones in the workplace. I yanked the camera out of my iPhone 3G and use it when I’m physically at work. I put the SIM card in my iPhone 4 when I’m not at my workplace. I also like simultaneous voice and data.

  12. Ah, finally someone who might be able to relate to my work environment. Fortunately, cell phones are permitted at this office and with cameras. However, the no personal laptop policy is a bummer… We have two decent break areas, but I can’t do anything with them. I’ve lobbied for a bench outside – where the bloggers (just me) and smokers (not me) can congregate. Until then, when there’s breaking news, you can find me across the street in the Marriott with my laptop.

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