More choices, More confusion! If you plan to buy an iPhone 4S and looking for perfect carrier then no need to worry, this time Apple has supported the nation’s largest carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint to sell its upgraded version of an iPhone 4S. It is great honor for iPhone 4S, since it is first time in iPhone history that three major U.S. operators will be offering this latest version of Apple. From today, all three carriers begin selling.
Obviously, first choice is given to AT&T as it is the original partner of Apple and has an exclusive catch on the iPhone for almost four years. Additionally, Verizon came into the same line this year and it made people realize that iPhone is a phone they could actually use to make calls and recently Sprint declared as another player of this game. These additions make decision more complex and it is really hard to decide which one is right among all three carriers? Thoroughly observation over their positive and negative aspects is only answer to this question.
iPhone 4S don’t need any introduction because it is in demand nowadays due to its nifty, new hardware and Siri-powered voice dictation features. Choosing right carrier adds extra utility to the phone. User may give importance to the price, usage, service and location at the time of selection. Coverage and speed are another important factor to take into consideration.
First start with the original partner of Apple – AT&T, which maintains its customers with reasonable prices of data plans and improved Call quality and data network performance. AT&T iPhone is based on the latest 4G LTE standard and achieve faster download speeds than the other carriers. Moreover, AT&T is attuned with the HSPA+ 14.4Mbps data network which also helps to achieve noticeably faster download speeds.
AT&T’s GSM technology significantly distinguishes it from the rest of the carriers. We all know that iPhone 4S has a dual-mode CDMA or GSM chipset, so if user switch to AT&T they can take full benefits because it is only among three which activates the GSM technology. Verizon and Sprint carriers are limited to CDMA network only. The AT&T iPhone has UMTS standard that allows its users to use data and voice connections at the same time and this facility is considered as inevitable point while planning to purchase the iPhone. Speed of the Phone mainly depends on location where you live and provided coverage in your area.
- Reasonable prices on data plan
- No roaming charges in the U.S.
- Allows simultaneous talk and data usage
- Runs on a GSM network
- Fastest for data surfing
- Unlimited mobile to mobile calling anytime
- Rollover minutes
- Poor customer service
- Offers very low amount of data – 200MB
- Automatically charges for additional 200MB
- Pay-as-you-go texting is not affordable to every customer
- Network is not responding in many places across the country
- More expensive regards to 2GB data plan
- iPhone 4S cell phone hotspot feature is not included with the base 200MB or 2GB data plans
- Notorious for dropped calls consistently and have more dead zones especially in some metro areas than other carriers
Best for: option for multitasking speed hound who requires concurrent voice and data.
Certainly, Verizon is not as budget friendly like AT&T and Sprint because of its high priced data plans. However, it obtains first position in reliability and remains highest in call quality.
Several surveys have proven that Verizon gets highest customer satisfaction, as 3.4% of existing Verizon’s customers would switch to Sprint and only 2.4% would switch to AT&T. 7% of AT&T subscribers would switch to Verizon. Users can not talk and use data at the same time because Verizon is based on CDMA technology only. Data speeds on 3G networks haven’t suffered as much as AT&T in spite of a heavy load from iPhone and Android customers.
- Broad and reliable nationwide coverage
- Steady customer service
- Amazing call quality
- Verizon is expensive
- Not having HSDPA speeds
- Only CDMA network
- New customers can only order tiered data plans
- No unlimited data option
- Not appropriate for low data users
- Its data runs a bit slower than AT&T’s and responsible to simultaneous voice and data
- Verizon’s investment in 4G LTE exceeds the other carriers
- iPhone 4S is going to pale in comparison with rival Android phones
Best for: may be the safest choice for Apple fans that favors network strength and coverage than money.
Sprint offers unlimited data with a view to tempt customers as it is New on the track. This unique thing of unlimited data makes Sprint most affordable iPhone 4S provider among those users who are most data-concentrated and like to stream videos, download music, and play online games from their devices. Minute charge is more but at the same time unlimited data option may sweeten the deal. Sprint gains more by adding the iPhone to its lineup to and if Sprint can pull iPhone off it is considered as top reason for customers leaving the carrier.
- Usually rated second or third for call quality
- Only carrier to offer unlimited data plans for iPhone 4S
- Enjoy hours upon hours of Netflix movies or sports programs through the SlingBox app
- Nation’s third-largest carrier
- Based on CDMA technology only means no simultaneous voice and data
- Data won’t be as fast as AT&T’s model due to lack of HSDPA speeds
- Offers unlimited data only which may not be appropriate to all customers
- The mobile hotspot feature is $30/mo extra
- Still requires a text messaging plan
- Unlimited data affected poorly due to lower speed
- No 3G surfing while talking
Best for: heavy data users who prefer unlimited data plan
There is another option of going with an unlocked iPhone 4S, in which user is provided with great freedom. It means users need not to bind with one contract they can swap to other suitable carriers also. This works on T-Mobile network on its slow poke 2G networks. Buying an unlocked model from Apple is a costly proposal due to its price structure.
Pricing-wise, Sprint wins because it comes with a total monthly cost of $99.99, unlimited texting, and unlimited data, whereas if users give more importance to data speeds then AT&T is perfect with its “dual antenna technology”. When it comes to coverage which is another important factor to think about, Verizon maybe appropriate option to handle the condition. But, don’t forget that Verizon and Sprint have EV-DO Rev standard which has only 3.2Mbps so lack simultaneous voice and data. Both of them are also equipped with CDMA network only. Looking these minus points, chances are more for users to choose AT&T.
Price is major factor in choosing right carrier, so below chart may become helpful at the time of taking right decision. This chart shows differences between the AT&T, Verizon and Sprint carriers in terms of price.
Apple iPhone 4S plan comparison Table
$.20 per Text/Instant Message
$.30 per picture/Video message
$.20 per Text/Instant Message
$.30 per picture/Video message
|Unlimited||$20||Included with Voice calls||$20|
|Included with 4GB plans and above||$29.99||Included with 4GB, 7GB, 12GB plans|
Total Cost (900 minutes, Unlimited texting, 2GB data)
|Monthly||$104.99||$99.99 (includes unlimited data)||$109.99|
|2 Year Contract total||$2519.76||$2399.76 (includes unlimited data)||$2639.76|