Which iPhone Network Should Lawyers Choose?


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Verizon has busted AT&T’s monopoly on the iPhone. If you already use an iPhone or you are thinking about getting one, there are some differences between the two wireless carriers.

Here is what you need to know.

Want to surf while you talk? Go with AT&T

If you go with Verizon, you cannot use the internet while you are on the phone. On AT&T, you can talk and surf all day. That might sound like a non-factor, but it xomes in handy. There are plenty of times when I am on the phone with Sam or opposing counsel and I need to look up a document in Dropbox. Is it completely necessary? No. Is it helpful? Very.

Along the same lines, talking while referencing an email is also helpful. In theory, if you use the Mail app for your work email, you might be able to look at email offline while talking on the phone. That theory, however, has not been tested.

Bottom line: if you want to surf and talk, you can only do it with AT&T.

Need to create a wireless hotspot? Go with Verizon

The Verizon iPhone will allow you to create a 3G hotspot for up to 5 other devices, which is pretty sweet. AT&T offers tethering for one device, but it is an additional expense, and you can only tether to one device, not multiple devices.

I do not use tethering. It would be neat to have it, but I can do almost everything lawyerly on my iPhone, so I am not interested in paying for it. If it were free, however, I am sure I would use it. Given how much data iPhones suck down though, I have a feeling the hotspot option could quickly become a paid option.

As of right now, however, if hotspots are your thing, go with Verizon.

Which company is cheaper?

Complete unknown at this point—Verizon has not published any data rates. Speculating on rumors is silly at this point. Do not assume, however, that you need to pay for an unlimited or large data plan.

I use my iPhone a ton. Both my house and my office have Wi-Fi, which has limited my actual 3G data usage to always less than 2GB, and sometimes under 200MB (the two available data plans on AT&T). Keep that in mind when you are comparing plans.

Verizon allegedly has better coverage

Many AT&T iPhone users are eager to jump ship because of the alleged bad coverage. The only time I cannot use my iPhone is when I am at a sporting event. Apparently every other person is trying to check their fantasy sports team during the game, which is not a deal-breaker. Then again, not being able to call my mother-in-law, who was watching our baby, was very annoying.

Ask your friends to see what provider they use, and whether they are happy with the coverage. Both providers also have service coverage maps on their website, which is helpful, but asking your friends will provide much better information on the quality of coverage.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rickyromero/2672913333)


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  • Timely post. I’ve got until May when my AT&T plan for my 3GS runs out. Coverage is bad at my house and other places in town. I know that Verizon provides better coverage in those areas. My plan has been to jump to Verizon, but this post has me re-thinking that. I may just wait it out until the iPhone 5 appears and decide then. I have at least until May to decide.

    The hotspot feature would be beneficial as I could then ditch the Virgin Mobile MIFI I use.

    • I’m glad you mentioned the potential iPhone 5. That is another valid consideration for people who are considering jumping ship. It would suck to sign up with Verizon, get the iPhone 4, and then watch Apple unveil the iPhone 5 four months later.

      • That would be typical for my luck. It might be worth it too if the iPhone 5 is 4G capable too.

        • It might also be worth waiting to see what happens once iPhones start sucking up all the data on Verizon’s network.

  • I’m subscribed to Verizon network, so far it doesn’t give me any headache re: network signal interruption so I’ll stick with it. It won’t take long enough for iPhone5 to launch so I’ll wait for it. Who doesn’t love iPhone anyway.