How Verizon Could Still Screw This All Up

So, the iPhone on Verizon is real and happening on February 10th. There was much rejoicing, but is it premature? Isn’t Verizon just as bad as every other wireless company? Aren’t they watching their bottom line just as closely as AT&T?

For the sake of argument and your initial elation, dear reader, let’s assume they aren’t. But let’s, then, keep an eye out for some of the things Verizon could do to screw this up:

  • They haven’t announced the pricing on their data plans and voice plans. It could be more expensive.

  • They haven’t announced pricing for the hotspot feature. AT&T got a lot of grief for charging an extra $20 a month for tethering. I bet Verizon puts up the same $20 charge, albeit for five connections at a time. It sounds great until you run into the data cap on the tenth of the month.

(This just in: Boy Genius Report is saying that the hotspot functionality is built into the next edition of the iOS software, due out possibly in March. So it’s possible that AT&T may match it in the near future.)

  • Will the iPhone 5 be released for Verizon at the same time as AT&T? We don’t know that at all. Maybe the deal is that Verizon’s iPhone is always six months behind AT&T’s. Maybe. Even if it isn’t, do you really want to rush out to buy an iPhone 4 today when the 5 is due out in five months? Or is it? You don’t know that it will be. Boy, that’s a tough decision, isn’t it? The only safe thing to do is to wait for the iPhone 5 announcement before switching to Verizon.

  • AT&T’s network is about to undergo a significant shrinkage of its user base. That’s a lot of more open bandwidth for you to use, particularly in the major cities. Meanwhile, we have no guarantees that the Verizon network will handle the new traffic load gracefully. And, if AT&T is right, it’s slower to begin with.

  • So far, this is all theory and Might Happens. This next part, though, is already announced: The “New Every Two” program has just been discontinued, though existing customers can use their credit. Also, early upgrades just went from 13 months to 20 months.

And, don’t forget, you can’t have data and a phone call at the same time. Your hotspot is useless when you’re on the phone, which will be particularly annoying to the other four people using your hotspot at that moment. I don’t usually look at my phone to search for something while on the phone, but the one or two times that I have, it was critical and important. I imagine if I were using the phone as a hotspot with any regularity, I’d hate the people calling me for causing that connection to die so I could talk to them.

For some of you, you’ll need a new case. One button is minorly different on the Verizon phone, and won’t fit into certain iPhone cases.

The long-mythical Verizon iPhone has always amused me. People have assume that it’ll be the solution to all their problems. I’ve never had the problems with AT&T that so many others seem to have. Yes, it drops calls sometimes, but always in basically the same exact spots on the drive home that other carriers have dropped calls on me. The 3G is reliable. It works at my house and at my work. That’s all I need. If AT&T happens to not have great coverage in your particular part of the world, then by all means switch. But don’t talk about how awful AT&T’s customer service is, because I’ve got news for you — all wireless providers are awful. I’ve been to the Verizon store more times than I care to count with my wife’s various phones and it’s been a nightmare scenario every time.

That all said, there’s a chance I’ll switch to the Verizon iPhone in June, too. If Verizon’s network is still standing after a few months of the iPhone being on it, and if Verizon gets the iPhone 5 at the same time as AT&T, I’ll likely do it. This way, my wife and I will at last be on the same network and we’ll save minutes that way. (Unless, of course, Verizon decides that Verizon-to-Verizon minutes count against you with the iPhone now…)