Which Provider Is best for the iPhone 4S: AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint?

For the first time in Apple product history, the brand new iPhone, the iPhone 4S, will be available for use with any of the three most popular wireless networks in the United States, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. While this is great news for users who love the iPhone and have already made up their minds about their carrier, for the indecisive and ill-informed majority, it will mean having to make up our minds about which carrier to use with our beloved new iPhone.

That each of these carriers comes with both advantages and disadvantages goes without saying. None is perfect and none comes without its flaws. And no, the three can’t be combined into one all-powerful, perfect service. When choosing the carrier you will use with your new iPhone 4S, you’ll have to make some concessions depending on your priorities. If you are a texting kind of guy, you’ll want to go with a service that offers cheap texting. If you are a gossip gal, you’ll probably prefer unlimited minutes. If you are short on funds, you may want as cheap a service as possible. In that case, the question that begs asking is why you bought an iPhone 4S in the first place. Here are some pros and cons of the three carriers.

(Courtesy of Flickr User: Yoshikazu Takada)

AT&T is, without question, the fastest of the three. Because it is a GSM carrier, the 3G network that it uses runs at lightning speed. In 2010, AT&T’s network was shown to provide a download speed about twice that of Sprint’s network and about a third faster than that of Verizon’s network. One of the stellar features of the iPhone 4S is its maximum download speed of 14 and a half megabytes per second. The only network that will allow you to get even close to that speed is AT&T.

(Courtesy of Flickr User: MrVJTod)

With AT&T, you can also talk with your friends on the phone while surfing the web. Neither Sprint nor Verizon offer this option, and you will have to hang up before searching for important celebrity news or Wall Street statistics on Google.

If you need to eat up data like a pack of hungry wolves, Sprint is the only carrier of the three that offers an unlimited data plan. Although your Internet speed might be quite low, you can get an unlimited data plan from Sprint for only ten dollars per month.

If you need iron-clad network reliability, unfortunately, none of the three carriers are perfect. PC World’s 2010 reliability test, however, gave Sprint and AT&T a reliability rating of 94 percent and Verizon a rating of 92 percent. Still, reliability from any given carrier depends on where you live and how many active towers your carrier has in your region. If you live in a rural area, you may want to go with Verizon, as it has the broadest country-wide 3G network.

The large variety of plans offered by the three carriers won’t make your decision any easier. Sprint’s plans are the easiest to figure out with flat rates of $70 for 450 minutes, $90 for 900 minutes, and $100 per month for unlimited minutes. Each of these plans comes with unlimited data and texting.

The other two carriers are more flexible. This means that their plans can either be a lot cheaper than Sprint’s or a lot more expensive, depending on your needs. If you don’t send that many texts, AT&T deals offer a few great plans with plenty of data and minutes that are much cheaper than the competition’s deals. If you text an average amount but don’t need unlimited texts, Verizon will give you a plan that is slightly less that Sprint’s with the same amount of minutes but with a limited amount of texts and data.

In summary, if you need the fastest Internet access on the planet, you’ll have to use the AT&T network. None of the other two networks even come close to the speeds offered by AT&T. If money is not an issue for you as long as the carrier you go with has the best service, AT&T deals will fulfill your wildest dreams. If money is an issue, look into a Sprint or Verizon plan that will give you slower speeds for a cheaper price.

This is a guest article by Ruben Corbo, a writer for the website Broadband Expert where you can find internet service providers in your area and compare prices on AT&T deals as well as other cable internet providers. When Ruben is not writing he’s composing or producing music for short films or other visual arts.

Posted by on Oct 14 2011. Filed under Mobile, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry