The arrival of the Verizon iPhone 4 has been cause for some celebration among Verizon customers and even some who are already using the phone on AT&T. In fact, virtually every smartphone customer is likely wondering if they should adopt one of the leading smartphones on the U.S.'s most reliable mobile network. These 12 facts may help you decide.
1. The Verizon iPhone is No Thicker or Heavier than the AT&T Model
Apple told me and my examination proves that these phones are like twins (more identical than fraternal). Both iPhones are 9.3 millimeters thick—still among the thinnest smartphones on the market.
2. The Antenna Design is Different for a Reason
It's no accident that the AT&T iPhone 4 and Verizon iPhone 4 antenna bands (around the phones) do not look exactly the same. The differences are hard to notice unless you hold the two phones side-by-side—as I did. The Verizon iPhone uses a CDMA network antenna. In fact, it uses two CDMA antennas (a necessary redundancy for the CDMA network). As a result, there are identical antenna band bar breaks on either side of the phone. By the way, Apple told me that, unlike GSM, the CDMA network actually works to give you a few more seconds of connectivity before the call breaks off completely. In other words, even on the worst connections, you may still be able to recover the call. I never had a bad enough connection to see this in action.
AT&T is finally going on the offensive as the Verizon iPhone is set to launch later this month. In an email blast today, AT&T shows a woman talking on the phone while browsing Fandango for movie tickets. Below is a line that says AT&T is the play network that lets you talk and surf the web at the same time on your iPhone. Thing is, they're right, and they should totally be using this as a selling point. Sure, this isn't something we all do on a regular basis, but I've certainly done it a handful of times, and would have been frustrated if I weren't able to when I needed it.
If you've got the Verizon iPhone on your mind, you're gonna wanna be sure to grab iTunes 10.1.2, available now from Apple. Aside from bug fixes and performance updates, this version of iTunes carries CDMA iPhone support with it. Fire up Software Update now to nab it.
One of the features touted during the Verizon iPhone announcement was the inclusion of Personal Hotspot. This allows you to use the iPhone as a Wi-Fi router, which in turn lets you connect up to five other devices to your Verizon data connection. The one thing they left out, though, was price. Today, Verizon filled in that gap with the announcement that the iPhone personal hotspot feature will cost $20 per month. That's in addition to your calling and data plans. No bid surprise there though, as that's the same price they charge on all their other smartphones with the same feature. The nice thing about this, though, is that when compared to AT&T, Verizon gives you more value for the dollar. AT&T only allows Bluetooth and USB tethering, and only to one device at a time. Further, you don't get any additional data for your $20. With the Wi-Fi hotpsot, you get up to five devices at once, and you also get a dedicated 2 GB of data specifically for tethering. Each gigabyte over the limit will cost an additional $20.
Verizon Wireless will cease offering its monthly 150MB data plan, which costs $15, and by default will require all new smartphone users to adopt its existing $30 unlimited data plan.
During Verizon's fourth quarter earnings call on Tuesday morning, chief operating officer Lowell McAdam said the company was scrapping its $15/month 150 MB data plan this month.
A Verizon Wireless spokesman declined to offer any more details but confirmed Verizon would continue its $30 unlimited MB plan.
The announcement deals a direct blow to the original Apple iPhone carrier, AT&T, which had to scrap its unlimited data plan last summer. AT&T's metered data plans begin at $15 a month for 200MB. At the time, AT&T argued that 98 percent of its smartphone users consumed less than 2GB per month, and 65 percent consumed less than 200MB per month.
Wanna see how VZW is pushing the Verizon iPhone? Check out their first iPhone commercial, which focuses on the amount of time that customers have been waiting for the Apple smartphone to arrive. Great concept.
Hot on the heels of our exclusive reports on Best Buy's plan to combat the Verizon iPhone and AT&T's new text messaging plans, we've got another tidbit for you. Aside from changes to their SMS fee structure, AT&T will also be changing up their activation fees. Beginning January 23, the fee on all activations, regardless of the type of phone purchased, will be standardized at $36. Also, the activation fee for additional FamilyTalk lines is being raised to $36 (it is currently $26.)
So now that we know AT&T will be changing their activation fees and SMS plans, we're wondering if talk plans might be getting changes as well. We're doing some digging, and if we find anything, we will let you know.
We just received a few very interesting tidbits in our tips box this evening as it pertains to the Verizon iPhone and how Best Buy is training their employees to encourage customers to stay with AT&T. As you can see in the document above, which we've confirmed is straight out of a Best Buy playbook, you can see that Big Blue is looking to talk down the Verizon model. What we haven't confirmed is the reason why--is Best Buy not going to be selling the Verizon iPhone at launch? If not, it would make sense that they'd wanna downplay the phone that they aren't selling so that they can continue moving phones that they actually stock.
Specifically mentioned is the fact that Verizon spent all of CES touting their 4G network, while the iPhone is a 3G device that will "still be puttering at EVDO speeds." Kind of odd, since the AT&T phone does the same (although AT&T's GSM is faster than Verizon's CDMA.)
We've got one more image out of Best Buy's playbook after the jump. Oh, and it looks like AT&T is gonna try and entice customer to stay by changing up the costs of their text messaging plans.
AT&T customers, get ready for new text messaging rates to go into effect starting next week. As the Verizon iPhone approaches, the company is looking to make their plans look a bit more attractive, and not so different from what Verizon will be offering. Above is an image leaked out of Best Buy showing that AT&T will have two text messaging plans going forward. The first is a new $10 per month for 1000 text messages (with each additional costing $.10,) while the second is the $20 unlimited text plan ($30 for family plans.) Going away are the $5/200 message and $15/1500 message plans. If you're a current customer on one of those plans, you are grandfathered in and can hold onto it, but new customers won't have those choices starting on January 23rd. Also on that day, AT&T will be raising activation fees.
We're not sure how much this will do to keep people from jumping ship, but it certainly makes the texting plans a little clearer. Also, be sure to check out how Best Buy plans to convince customers to choose the AT&T iPhone. War is upon us!
John Stewart lives in New York City, one of the areas with notoriously bad AT&T coverage. As seen in the video above, he is very happy about the announcement of the Verizon iPhone. As Stewart puts it "Those us in the iPhone community have sacrificed one thing for the ability to carry around every photo we’ve ever taken, or video we’ve taken, or song listened to, or have a compass. We have sacrificed the ability to make phone calls."