I’ve owned an iPhone since 2009 and it is certainly a beautiful product. As a designer, I can appreciate the way in which Apple is able to make complex products simple and easy-to-use. It’s not an easy task – but they do it time and time again.
They are hoping to continue this tradition with their latest release of the iPhone 5. It’s set to hit the shelves September 21 – and is expected to be another top seller. During its September 14 online pre-sale event, the phones sold out in one hour and future pre-sale shipments are expected to be pushed out to the end of the month.
One benefit of the new iPhone is that you will be able to select from three carriers: AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. I recall when I first purchased the phone the only carrier Apple allowed to sell their phones was AT&T. They have since released the reigns a bit – and (I think) will bring more buyers into the mix.
Let’s face it – everyone has their own story of carrier disappointment. From dropped calls – to no coverage – they are not perfect. So, if you are out to buy the next iPhone 5 – how do you pick between the three carriers? Which criteria do you use?
Will You Have Coverage?
Where do you live? When deciding on a carrier, it’s important to see what type of coverage you will be getting in your area. This comes first – and may often determine the carrier you’ll need to go with. Since you only have to deal with three carriers, you won’t have to look around too much.
One way to determine coverage in your area is to check out OpenSignalMaps.com. There, you’ll be able to see which carrier has the widest area of coverage in your city. They rank each carrier and provide you with the “top choice” for your community.
As a second opinion, you can also check out each carrier’s website and coverage maps to see if they agree with OpenSignalMaps.com.
Lastly – check around with your friends, family and co-workers to find out what carrier they are with and their experience with them.
Chances are that if you are living in a bigger metropolitan city – you aren’t going to need to worry about coverage. For you, it will come down to how you use your phone.
How Will You Use Your iPhone 5?
The next thing to consider is how you are going to use your iPhone 5. Are you a big texter? Will you be surfing the web a lot and using a variety of iPhone apps? Or, are you a low-utilizer, only planning to use the phone for reading the Bible and calling your friends on occasion?
It will also matter if you are planning to join your other family members or if it is just yourself.
Apple provides a great tool for looking at what each carrier has to offer and allowing you to compare one to another. One thing to note however, is the different pricing plans offered by each. With AT&T, there are mobile sharing, family, and individual plans. With Sprint, there is just the individual and family plans. And with Verizon, there is only the “share everything” plan.
Here’s a look at what we find by comparing the “individual” plans among the carriers. The AT&T plan is a bit skewed because they have such a “buffet” of options you can choose from. I selected one that a single individual might take advantage of.
Also, keep in mind that this is another time to check-in with friends and family to see what they use their own phone for and what type of plan they have. They may have a similar situation as yours.
I thought I would also offer you my own personal opinion among the carriers. I’ve only had experience with AT&T and Verizon. And, right now, I’m with AT&T and have been pleased with their service.
We were also “grandfathered” in the current plans with unlimited data – so that is also a nice perk that many new users cannot take advantage of. If it weren’t for that – we might consider another carrier.
Remember, it’s important to consider the coverage you can expect to get and your personal usage. When you know those things it will dictate why type of carrier/plan to go with. In general if you are a high utilitzer, you may want Sprint’s unlimited everything plan. If you are the opposite, try out the “cafeteria plan” offered by AT&T.
Do you have any other solutions to help folks find a plan that is right for them? Leave a comment below!