So the much anticipated Verizon iPhone was launched this week. I went out and got one on launch day. For those of you not in the "know" about this controversial subject, let me fill you in....
a&tt/Cingular signed a 5 year exclusivity agreement with apple in 2007.
An ongoing California class-action lawsuit filed in 2007 claims that Apple and AT&T illegally exerted a monopoly over iPhone service by telling customers the iPhone's required service contract was two years long when the Apple / AT&T exclusivity deal was actually for five years -- thus requiring buyers to re-up with AT&T for three years (and not, say, T-Mobile) if they wanted to keep using the iPhone. Obviously Apple had to respond to these allegations, and in addition to arguing that no one was ever promised an unlocked iPhone after two years, the company's lawyers repeatedly confirm the existence of the five-year agreement while noting it was publicly reported in USA Today.
So because at&t was the only company with the iPhone, problems arose as more and more iPhones sprung up throughout the US, especially in major cities like the bay area. Eventually the towers carrying all those calls would fill up and have to either do one of two things: drop the circuit, or pass your call on to another tower. This was not a good thing for at&t's 3G gsm technology which although a bit faster than cdma (verizon/sprint), was not built for that much traffic.
Dropped calls on at&t's network was very typical and unpredictable. I remember so many days driving home through San Francisco and as soon as I got into the city my call would drop. Because of the iPhone's popularity, thousands and perhaps millions of people who all want the same phone were stuck with at&t's crummy network. The birth of the Verizon iPhone was a long awaited rumor even since 2008 when the 3G model came out and began its revolutionary technology trail of demand and attention.
Now on to my review: My new verizon iPhone so far is GREAT! 3 first reactions, it's exactly the same as the at&t model that came out in July but with some differences:
- The service works! I drive everywhere on the phone and in 3 days and a few 1 hour+ calls have not dropped one call yet.
- You can't surf the internet while talking, had this happen to me once now too. Driving on the phone, need to get driving directions, google maps doesn't work without internet so had to finish my conversation before getting online to find the address. Verizon says they will have an update that will ALLOW this in the spring, so look for that ViPhone users. NOTE: With Verizon you will have UNLIMITED data, unlike At&t who is now capping their data plan to 2GB/mo.
- You can pay extra per month for a feature called "personal hotspot" it will allow you to share the verizon internet connection with up to 5 computers via wifi, it will cost an extra $20/month. This is similar to at&t's tethering package but only allows a wired connection with one computer. (If you jailbreak the phone with GreenPois0n & download/buy the MiWi application you can do the same thing for a $20 one time fee, I just did it and it works great!)
Well, on to my final opinion; Verizon was anticipating a large launch event with daunting lines at every store filled with angry at&t customers eager to get am iphone that would work. They didn't get those long lines and crazy media attention they might have expected but they did fill up their preorders and have converted many frustrated bay area residents. Because the iPhone 4 is exactly the same and doesn't really offer much more than the last at&t launch, there wasn't much sizzle in this story.
The bottom line is... if you like making phone calls consistently and have the money or contract freedom to switch from at&t to verizon, it was worth it for me. Verizon is primarily a cell phone company, and they are way ahead of at&t with their LTE/4G rollout of the new faster network. In the future... the verizon customers will have the upperhand with coverage reliability and network speed. At&t does also plan on a 4G rollout, but not until 2012. Long after a new 4G iPhone will be released and on the market.