Monday, August 23, 2010

iPhone on Verizon? I'll Pass

If everything else remains the same, and Apple introduces an iPhone on Verizon, I'll pass.

Here's why:
  • CDMA
  • Data speed
  • Price

The current model for CDMA does not allow simultaneous voice and data. In August of 2009, the CDMA Development Group published a new specification that would allow simultaneous voice and data, but that will take time to roll out to all existing Verizon systems. Of course, an iPhone might be the incentive they need to do that quickly.
I use data during calls very often. Friends and family will call and ask for detailed local weather conditions while traveling or ask me to pull up some web-based information.

Data Speed
In most of the US, including here in the Twin Cities, the data speed on AT&T is generally faster than on Verizon. Connectivity on AT&T is worse, especially in dense business areas (all those ad folks carry iPhones...) My experience has been that I can stream internet radio throughout my drive/ride to any of regular destinations with one drop on 3G. If I'm conserving batteries, I'll switch to EDGE and do nearly as well.

This target keeps moving, and the companies make things complicated to it's hard to directly compare, but generally, AT&T data plans are slightly less expensive than Verizon.

And now for a little rant...
Since when did technology prices go UP? Like many Oligopolies, wireless data needs an outside player to shake things up. But like Cable, there is a physical location requirement that creates a high barrier to entry for a new competitor and allows the market leaders to engage in anti-competitive practices. 

Other Possibilities
If the Verizon iPhone has the new version of CDMA, then I will seriously consider it. As a phone, my AT&T iPhone is nearly useless. About one-third of my call never ring - straight to voicemail.
At one of my clients, I don't even try to make calls. I just use the Skype application and call over WiFi.

Tethering iPad
My dream solution is steno-pad-sized iPad with free WiFi tethering. If such a device came with a data-only plan I would jump all over it. Especially if was available with the Virgin pay-as-you-go data plan.

So I'm not all that excited about a Verizon iPhone. However, I desperate want it to be introduced so that we get some competition for data plans in the market. Right now, Android and iPhone are living in silos. I think having the iPone on multiple carriers in the US will create a little competition. Yes, I said "little." See the rant above.

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