Thursday, November 12, 2009

Verizon or AT&T?

I've come across quite a few people who are customers of AT&T that say they can't wait until their contract expires so they can switch to Verizon.
Verizon is such a great carrier. Much better reception than AT&T.

Is it really?

First of all, I've spoken to more than a few people who have Verizon that say it isn't all that great. In fact, I've heard more Verizon praise from AT&T customers than anything else. All that proves is that Verizon's advertising is effective.
Second, I'm of the opinion that ALL carriers have their share of dead spots and dropped calls. It's the nature of the beast. I'm also one of those AT&T customers that can't really complain about AT&T. Sure, I have dead-spots (usually in very woodsy rural areas), and I get dropped calls from time to time, but overall I'm pretty happy with my service....especially for the price. My bottom line bill every month comes to less than $90, and that includes 900 anytime minutes, rollover minutes, unlimited nights/weekends, unlimited AT&T mobile-to-mobile, a 5 person "A-list" (of which I only use 3) which allows for unlimited calling to and from any domestic landline or out-of-network cell phone of my choosing, unlimited text/MMS, and unlimited data on my Windows Mobile Smartphone.
Somehow I don't think I'd get all that for that price at Verizon. In fact, judging from what I saw when I curiously checked Verizon's plans about a year ago, I'm sure of it.
And as for that cute little 3G coverage map they have on TV that shows an almost solid red map for Verizon, and a very sparsely spotted blue map for AT&T goes, I live in NJ, and spend pretty much all of my time in NJ. Next time you see that commercial, you'll notice that on that sparsely covered AT&T map, NJ is solid blue from top to bottom. Whether or not someone in Wyoming has 3G coverage is not my concern.
I'm not saying that AT&T is "the bomb" or anything. I just think that Verizon is not necessarily "it" either. To me, AT&T and Verizon is like Coke and Pepsi. They will likely always hold the top two spots, and each will always have their faithful and satisfied customers.

Anyway, here's an interesting article from tech blogger David Pogue about how Verizon is escalating their already suspect business practices.
This is a good example of how the grass isn't always greener.

Pogue's Posts - The Latest in Technology From David Pogue

The Latest in Technology From David Pogue

November 12, 2009, 12:29 pm

Verizon: How Much Do You Charge Now?

Starting next week, Verizon will double the early-termination fee for smartphones. That is, if you get a BlackBerry, Android or similar phone from Verizon, and you decide to switch phones before your two-year contract is up, you’ll be socked with a $350 penalty (it used to be $175).

This fee drops slowly over time ($10 a month), but after two years, it’s still $110. If the premise of the early-termination fee is to help Verizon recoup its original cost of the phone (see my analysis here, shouldn’t the fee go down to zero at the end of your contract?

This move doesn’t help Verizon’s reputation for steep pricing and aggressive gouging.

What bothers me more, though, is another bit of greedy nastiness that readers both inside and outside Verizon have noticed.

Here’s one example, from a Verizon customer:

“David, I read your posts about how the cell carriers are eating up our airtime with those 15-second ‘To page this person, press 5′ instructions, but I think Verizon has a bigger scam going on: charging for bogus data downloads.

“Virtually every bill I get has a couple of erroneous data charges at $1.99 each—yet we download no data.

“Here’s how it works. They configure the phones to have multiple easily hit keystrokes to launch ‘Get it now’ or ‘Mobile Web’—usually a single key like an arrow key. Often we have no idea what key we hit, but up pops one of these screens. The instant you call the function, they charge you the data fee. We cancel these unintended requests as fast as we can hit the End key, but it doesn’t matter; they’ve told me that ANY data–even one kilobyte–is billed as 1MB. The damage is done. Read more…

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