What does this really mean?
iPhone users have a choice – more reliable phone calls or using voice and data at the same time. The naysayers suggest Verizon’s network will buckle under the iPhone pressure, just like AT&T. Verizon announced the addition of 10 new towers to the Midwest area Monday. Tuesday they announced the iPhone and assured customers the network could handle the increased load. Wednesday they announced 16 new towers in the New York Metro area. Most of them are in the surrounding areas like Suffolk, Westchester and Rockford. Coincidence? Hardly.
The short difference:
- AT&T’s network allows the ability to talk and use data together, but is not as reliable.
- Verizon’s network doesn’t allow for simultaneous usage, but has documented reliability
- AT&T has issues with tethering, limits you to one device
- Verizon is cool with it and lets you tether up to five devices
Simultaneous Talk and Data Usage
Both AT&T and Apple have produced enough media fodder together discussing the ability to talk and surf simultaneously. It’s true. It’s the functionality of the technologies used by the respective companies. However, many people really use both at the same time?
One of the commercials apple produced was a business person getting a call from a colleague, asking if the iPhone user got the latest email just sent. Seriously? Who does this? If you have to call about the email you just send, why send the email in the first place?
iPhone caches email. This means that it keeps the data locally on the phone, without the need to connect to the network. Once headers (the subject, time and sender info) are received, they stay there. Once you read the message, it is stored and can be read again later regardless of a network connection being available.
John Stewart had a great take on this, stating people have scarified the ability to call someone for the desire of the iPhone. Presumably this will change on Verizon’s network.
Using your mobile phone and carrier to get your computer or other device online has been an interesting issue with carriers. Verizon is quick to say they’ll let you do it, but are now talking about removing the unlimited data option from their plans.
So Verizon will now let you tether up to 5 devices with your iPhone 4. Again, the absurdity of this statement is interesting. It’s a 3G network. It’s only about 1Mbps. It might hit 1.5Mbps on a good day. But share 5 devices with it? Not well.
The Bottom Line
If you absolutely need to use data (surf, email, etc) while you’re talking on the phone, go with AT&T. If you prefer it when your phone doesn’t drop your calls, try Verizon.
If you prefer your smart phone to have a little more G, wait for the new Android 4G phones from AT&T and Verizon. Presumably, iPhone 5 is out this year and will likely be 4G, too.
Watch for the latest Computer Link Magazine later this month for my story there.