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  • Initial Thoughts of AT&T versus Verizon Wireless

    Posted on April 23rd, 2009 Shawn 3 comments

    Welcome to part two of a multi-part romance novel (not exactly) of a man, and quest for the ultimate device and network.

    Part 1 – Last Days on Verizon Wireless
    Part 2 – First Days on AT&T
    Part 3 – BlackBerry Bold 9000 versus Storm 9530

    I’ve been rockin’ the BlackBerry Bold 9000 on AT&T for a few weeks, so it’s time to publish part two of this series. If you need to catch up, read part one.

    I’m going to focus solely on the network here.  I won’t be comparing Bold versus Storm (that will be in an upcoming post). I will not be talking BlackBerry versus Treo (that will also be in an upcoming post).  For this, we talk Verizon Wireless versus AT&T.

    This is not my first dance with AT&T, but it has been about 6 years since I was on their network.  Plus back then, they were called Cingular and Cellular One before that. 3G didn’t exist back then. Hell, 2G didn’t exist (as far as I know). Smartphones were only for mobile technology uber-geeks, which I wasn’t one at the time. I had the most plain Jane Nokia phone. Monochrome screen, no texting, analog and digital capabilities, no vibrate mode (but I did buy a 3rd party battery that had a vibrate feature, and it made the phone sound like a quacking duck when it rang).

    I left Cingular because they screwed me on a billing issue, which went to a collection agency.  At the time, I was in the process of getting qualified for a home mortgage and Cingular’s collection agency (a 3rd party company) threatened if I did not pay a late fee that it would effect my credit rating. So, I negotiated a payment and promptly cut all ties with Cingular.

    Still in 2003, after researching the other available networks in my area, Sprint didn’t make the cut, and Verizon Wireless won my business. Up until May 2009, Verizon has been my carrier.  So, why the switch?
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    A couple reasons made my decision. (1) Choice of devices. (2) Voice/data coverage in primary locations. (3) WiFi.

    Choice of Devices
    As a work mandate, if I want work email on the device, I have to use BlackBerry devices. My employer has determined the most recent available BlackBerry device on Verizon (BlackBerry Storm 9530) is not a viable option. That leaves us with older BlackBerry devices that have older operating systems (BBOS 4.5) and lower screen resolutions. For AT&T, they have one of the three available “next generation” BlackBerry’s, the Bold 9000. It has a newer operating system (BBOS 4.6), higher screen resolution, and other features. AT&T wins on the “newness” factor for devices, since the Storm was ruled out by my employer.

    Voice/data coverage in primary locations
    We all know the commercials for Verizon Wireless, about “the network”.  Well, sorry to say, I get little to no coverage at home with Verizon Wireless. The coverage is so bad that I never take a call on my mobile at home, knowing that it will end in a dropped call. Other primary business areas near me (Waltham, MA) have very poor coverage also. I switched to AT&T blindly, without knowing what coverage I would get. Boy, oh boy, I was pleasantly surprised. Voice/data quality at home is excellent. I commonly get 3G signal strengths, and have not dropped a single call in the three weeks I’ve been on AT&T. AT&T wins in my area. NOTE: The network all depends on where you are at.  Verizon has a great network, just not enough coverage where I need them.

    UPDATE: I completely forgot about the capability difference between the two different networks. Without going into the technical details, Verizon Wireless’ network is setup to allow voice or data. There is no simultaneous capability on Verizon to let you talk on a call and use data (internet) at the same time.  For AT&T’s 3G network, you have simultaneous voice and data capabilities. This was not a must have feature for me, but the cool thing is the ability to be on a call, while the integrated GPS is running Garmin software and updating maps over the AT&T data plan. In another scenario, I can be on a call trying to make plans for dinner, and use the web browser to locate directions to a restaurant.  This can’t be done on Verizon’s network.

    WiFi
    This area AT&T wins without any discussion. AT&T has been very open to devices with built-in WiFi for several years. Whereas Verizon has been slow to adopt WiFi. Verizon has only a few devices with WiFi, and none are BlackBerry. No WiFi on the Storm, and none on the next BlackBerry coming to Verizon sometime in the next couple months. The BlackBerry Bold for AT&T has WiFi built in. AT&T wins on the WiFi front.

    Wrap Up
    To sum up this part, I’m very happy with the AT&T network thus far. I previously had been lulled into beleiving Verizon was the only company with great network coverage, and that AT&T had poor coverage. Please keep in mind, your mileage may vary where you are located. My AT&T coverage is so impressive, that my wife will be dropping her Verizon plan when her contract is up in a few months and will sign up with AT&T.

    As far as customer service goes, I loved Verizon’s web site. I would use it regularly to keep track of my acocunt and pay bills. I very rarely call customer service for help, but Verizon’s customer service was hit or miss. They took care of me a few years ago when I had an accidental $700 monthly bill, but they were unable to help me with technical questions on the BlackBerry Storm. They also put up a brick wall, when I tried to transfer my Storm to my wife’s account (without a data plan). As for AT&T’s customer service, I do not plan on using it at all, since my employer will now handle all my BlackBerry/AT&T customer service needs.

    That’s it for now. Check back next time where I will focus on the comparison of the BlackBerry Bold 9000 versus BlackBerry Storm 9530.

     

    1 responses to “Initial Thoughts of AT&T versus Verizon Wireless” RSS icon

    • Very good analysis my friend, and not just because I’m an AT&T’er.

      I’d have to agree all the way around. Before moving, I had and loved T-Mobile. It wasn’t offered in the new locale so I blindly jumped to ATT mainly to snag an iPhone. The phone is great, but I’ve actually been impressed w/ ATT. Customer service is hit or miss like most (I think T-Mobile is the only company whose customer service I was impressed with), website is functional, and coverage has actually been better than I expected. There’s only 2 dead spots I’ve found in the city and they last for maybe .25 of a mile.

      Welcome to the carrier….iPhone conversion in t-minus ______ months.

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