AT&T Insiders Report iPhone Exclusivity Going Away On Wednesday

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News Posted: Sat, Jan 23 2010 1:28 AM
It's sort of hard to believe that all the hype from CES is already over and done with. Larger companies spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to introduce and showcase new products at the show, and now all anyone wants to talk about in the tech world is Apple. Must be nice to be Steve Jobs (or an investor). The company that gave the world the iPod and iPhone is planning a media event on the 27th of this month, and while the world tends to believe a tablet or slate of some sort is planned, there has been no definite proof of that to this point.

We really have no idea what's next from Apple; we just know that it'll be something to unleash one's creative side according to a tagline in the invite. According to an inside source close to the going-ons involved in all of this, a new tablet of some sort may not be the only thing on deck for next Wednesday though. We have been led to believe by an inside source that AT&T will lose their iPhone exclusivity on the same day, though it's not yet clear what other carrier (or carriers) will be stepping in to also carry the phone. For anyone who has followed the saga, you may notice that you haven't seen AT&T fighting to extend their original exclusive agreement of late. In fact, they have spent most of their time fighting Verizon's negative ad campaign.



This may not be all that surprising. Inside of AT&T, we are hearing that the iPhone is causing more trouble than ever before. On some level, having the iPhone is hurting AT&T's image. Because they are the only company to carry it, and it's such a data hog, it's largely to blame for AT&T's network troubles. We don't remember hearing about AT&T's "horrible network" before the iPhone--do you? The iPhone itself doesn't really handle the switch from 3G to EDGE very well, so calls that are in-progress tend to fail whenever the 3G bands aren't optimal and the phone attempts to step down to EDGE. It seems that AT&T is tired of taking the heat for this, and at this point, they may be smart to just let another carrier take some of those customers who are most inclined to complain.

We also heard that when AT&T loses their grip on the iPhone, they'll be introducing a bunch of other new smartphones with new platforms in order to "compensate." At CES, it was announced that new Windows Mobile, Android and webOS-based phones were destined to land on AT&T, but few details were provided as to when. Now, it seems the puzzle pieces are beginning to slot together. It's possible that AT&T recently went searching for deals with other phone makers in order to proactively bolster its smartphone lineup for when this day-of-doom would come. AT&T has gained a huge amount of subscribers from being the only operator with the iPhone, and if it loses that advantage, it'll need some other cutting-edge, high-brow phones to keep people's attention.


One big happy family soon?

It's hard to say what'll happen if a carrier like Verizon gets the iPhone. Will existing iPhone users on AT&T run in droves to switch, regardless of the early termination fee? Will existing AT&T iPhone users stick with their plan? Maybe Apple will simply see a new influx of iPhone users, as customers who were always wary of AT&T finally make the jump now that the phone is a on a network with better perceived quality? We still have to take all of this as rumor for now, but we have very good reason to believe that we'll see AT&T quietly (or perhaps not so quietly) lose its grip on the iPhone come Wednesday. What happens after that is anyone's guess, but we would expect the overall iPhone market share in the US to surge quite significantly if it's made available on a CDMA carrier.
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Verizon would definitely be on top of the list for Apple. It has the largest amount of active subscribers, and has the largest coverage area wise of any carrier. And they'll start rolling out their 4G network later this year.

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rapid1 replied on Sat, Jan 23 2010 2:39 AM

Yeah; that's one thing I just don't get with At&t the wireless strategy. They are saying there working on a upgrade within 3G, rather than stepping up to 4G. Sprint has already rolled out 4G at least partially and they are a Verizon tower partner as well. Then Verizon is rolling out it's own 4G LTE as well this year. That leaves At&t as the only major carrier running 3G in the US. You would think they would have used some of that great income, to upgrade there path at least to current b4 the I-phones started to eat there network as well as their public status. One of the funny things is there current commercials which state you cannot use a phone while surfing on Verizon. That's flat untrue it all depends on the phone if it is a current smart phone especially a Droid or Droid Eris you can surf and use the phone simultaneously no problem. It basically depends what network segment your on the Touch pro2's and anything equivalent can do the same.

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realneil replied on Sat, Jan 23 2010 8:41 AM

So it's not viable to expect an Android based iPhone running Chrome on Wednesday?

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Soupstyle replied on Sat, Jan 23 2010 2:54 PM

I heard that it might not be the iPhone, but just their eBook/Tablet PC that they announce that will be able to be bought with Verizon service.

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kid007 replied on Sat, Jan 23 2010 7:50 PM

iphone would stay with AT&T after all... that is my 2 cent :)

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It might be both, we don't know at this point. What they do know is that Apple execs have been talking with Verizon and that the AT&T contract is set to expire. So a Verizon-Apple partnership is a distinct possibility

Also we know that EA has been in talks with Apple regarding games for a "new platform". I think they mean the tablet.

3 days now though, time to jump in on the Apple stock?

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rapid1 replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 1:49 AM

I don't really understand them still being with any cellular provider in a singular agreement. After the first I-phone did as well as it did I would have dropped exclusivity on a dime. Because on multiple providers Apple stand to make more money, way more money. Plus no one will turn them away for sure or at least I would not see how other than if Google became a cellular carrier.

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Eletheo replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 1:56 AM

"We don't remember hearing about AT&T's "horrible network" before the iPhone--do you?"

I definitely do! I had AT&T for years (back when it was Cingular) and it was terrible. Dropped calls, missed texts, and lack of service where everyone else had service. I switched to Verizon and all those were problems were either completely fixed or close enough to it that it became a non-issue. On Verizon, dropping a call was a surprising event. Now that I am back on AT&T (father forced me to because I was only one not on the family plan and I now have an iPhone) a dropped call is routine and getting through an entire conversation without either having to call back or ask the other person to repeat themselves is an amazing feat! That simply is not good enough. I am switching back to Verizon as soon as my contract is up. And if the iPhone is there when I get there, all the better.

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rapid1 replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 2:57 AM

My first phone was Bellsouth Mobility which then flipped to At&t then Cingular now back to At&t any company that purposefully changes there name leaves me with some doubt. I mean if your a successful company why would you ever wanna change it's name really unless you joined with another company or something.

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Soupstyle replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 3:02 AM

I had Verizon, which was really bad in the MD/DC area, so I switched to Cingular, but then they got bought by AT&T. That being said I've only have had jobs (since graduating) where it was a firing offense to bring a camera into work, so I've never had a smartphone or camera phone since switching off of verizon (I had a camera phone in college).

That being said, AT&T doesn't seem to have horrible coverage on the east coast, the second you pass the Appalachian mountains though, you are on your own lol

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Lol, it's just corporate shenanigans. 

Originally, Cingular Wireless was a joint venture between SBC and BellSouth. Cingular then acquired AT&T Wireless (but not AT&T Inc). Then SBC acquired AT&T Inc and called it "The New AT&T". And when AT&T acquired BellSouth, Cingular Wireless became AT&T Wireless.

Did you get it? Me neither...

 

I haven't had much experience with other networks, but my brother who switched from AT&T (part of a company overhaul), very much prefers Verizon.

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millca replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 10:55 AM

I'm really hoping Apple does a complete game changing move with whatever their new creation is that they are announcing on Wednesday. By game changing, I mean turn the wireless industry on their head.

Imagine using a device that is able to roam freely among all wireless service networks giving you the strongest signal anywhere you are in the world. At the end of the month, the networks would get their portion of the service plan that is tracked by Apple's gadget and their infrastructure.

Everyone is tired of customer complaints against service providers. This is the one solution that would change ALL that! If you are interesting in this solution, read more about it here: http://bit.ly/4wq4jU

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Dave_HH replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 11:10 AM

A few years back I switched to AT&T because the Verizon network in our town was horrible. Verizon still has a large pocket of dead spots in the area of Massachusetts we're in. AT&T seems to hold calls better out here for some reason, though when I'm on the road, AT&T definitely seems to have network capacity issues/slow performance. In Vegas at CES, AT&T was a mess because every geek (like me) and their iPhone was out there on the network. I think AT&T would have been smart to let a little competition in, somewhere along the way with the iPhone but they obviously weren't.

Some of their network architects and engineers should be given the pink slip for not provisioning the resources properly to accommodate all the upside subscribers the iPhone brought them. It's not so much a cell site problem I don't think but rather just being over-subscribed. That and I've definitely seen my iPhone 3G take a knee on a regular basis when switching from 3G to Edge, which should have been worked out a long time ago but wasn't apparently.

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nicknyc replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 11:40 AM

their fail

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Soupstyle replied on Sun, Jan 24 2010 6:04 PM

I'm not sure that their network architects and engineers should be to blame for what seems to be an executive and managerial decision to milk profits without upgrading infrastructure which I am sure any of their decent network architects and engineers probably brought up.

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What does 4G mean exactly? Is it a technical specification or just a marketing term, like "broadband"?

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branchc replied on Mon, Jan 25 2010 9:21 AM

@rapid1

If you did some resarch, you would find that every name change form AT&T was associated with a joining with another company. Verizon is no different. They were formed by Bell Atlantic, GTE and Powertel. They just did their mergers a longer while ago. Heck, even T-Mobile is a merger. They used to be Voicestream and before that they were Omnipoint. Sprint is the only major company that hasn't had a name change.

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gwgtwo replied on Mon, Jan 25 2010 1:58 PM

By branchc on Jan 25, 2010

@rapid1

If you did some resarch, you would find that every name change form AT&T was associated with a joining with another company. Verizon is no different. They were formed by Bell Atlantic, GTE and Powertel. They just did their mergers a longer while ago. Heck, even T-Mobile is a merger. They used to be Voicestream and before that they were Omnipoint. Sprint is the only major company that hasn't had a name change.

-----

A couple of small corrections: Powertel never merged with GTE -> Verizon; Powertel briefly rebranded as VoiceStream before it becoming T-Mobile. (I didn't remember the Omnipoint merger involved here, because they weren't local ; maybe somebody else know the other companies absorbed.) CellularOne was the large cellular network bought by GTE before it merged with Bell Atlantic to become Verizon.

And yes, Sprint is the only one that hasn't changed names, because they were much later to the (wireless) game than the other players (no analog network, they started from scratch in the mid nineties) and thus the smallest of the major carriers; however, Sprint did buy Nextel in one of the most painful cellular system mergers in history.

Hopefully, the pending merger of Verizon and Alltel will run much more smoothly, since these two consistently garner the highest customer satisfaction marks in the industry. Now if only Alltel can cure Verizon of their relentless "we can charge for that" attitude toward every single beneficial feature on their network... :-)

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gwgtwo replied on Mon, Jan 25 2010 2:15 PM

4G refers to 4th generation (as opposed to 3rd generation or 3G) data networks. I don't know the technical specs, so I can't address the differences between 3G (or 4G) implementations on Sprint v. AT&T v. Verizon, but everybody is having to make major upgrades to their wireless data networks to keep up with increasing demands from "data hogs" like iPhone users, i.e. anyone who actually uses their 'smartphone' for more than just checking e-mail.

4G is, of course, much faster than 3G, but as you can tell from the chatter here and elsewhere, there is a lot more to the efficiency of a network and its benefits to you, than raw throughput in a stationary location. As they say, "Individual results may vary."

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Granna replied on Mon, Jan 25 2010 3:18 PM

At&T is the best carrier and I can't believe that anyone believe's those bad ads about the map coverage. What a joke, they are involved in a very large law suit over the mis-information the Verizon is sending out. Whenever there is an exclusive, it always comes to an end, AT&T saw the advantage to the iPhone in the beginning (when none of the other carriers had the knowledge to see how well it would take off) and were smart to lock in an exclusive. Boy, It's hard to believe that people are so gullable and believe anything they hear on commercials!! We have tried every other carrier there is and NONE stand up to the service, coverage and non-dropped calls that AT&T (Cingular) provides. The speed of AT&T's 3G will way exceed the others 4G and then all those customers will be crying and complaining. Do your homework people and don't get sucked in by the lies.

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I'm actually with millca on this one. Google's Nexus One will be available on both GSM and CDMA networks...if Apple doesn't follow suit, how much market share do they stand to lose?

The networks should be awarded on how strong they can make their networks, instead of trying to trap customers into 2 year plans. So if you're in Massachusetts, your phone logs onto AT&T, and in Upstate New York, Verizon becomes your service provider. This way competition and innovation will push the market in the right direction: better network for everyone. Much of Europe already uses this model, why not in America?

 

Granna:

At&T is the best carrier and I can't believe that anyone believe's those bad ads about the map coverage. What a joke, they are involved in a very large law suit over the mis-information the Verizon is sending out. Whenever there is an exclusive, it always comes to an end, AT&T saw the advantage to the iPhone in the beginning (when none of the other carriers had the knowledge to see how well it would take off) and were smart to lock in an exclusive. Boy, It's hard to believe that people are so gullable and believe anything they hear on commercials!! We have tried every other carrier there is and NONE stand up to the service, coverage and non-dropped calls that AT&T (Cingular) provides. The speed of AT&T's 3G will way exceed the others 4G and then all those customers will be crying and complaining. Do your homework people and don't get sucked in by the lies.

 

It depends where you are, but the Iphone has put more pressure on AT&T's 3G network than they estimated, hence the frequent network problems. I'm guessing the bandwidth usage on the Verizon network is a fraction of what it is on AT&T.

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Dave_HH replied on Tue, Jan 26 2010 12:04 AM

Soups touche' ... right on, agreed, most likely it was someone Engineering Management weasel that probably made the call... or wait... it was dropped, so they probably couldn't make any call. :)

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rapid1 replied on Tue, Jan 26 2010 12:35 AM

I agree gibbersome if this were the case the early termination fines would disappear at least at a reasonable time line. This is if the market actually worked on validity of great service from a provider. This would also be the best for everyone (except the provider with the lowest coverage and or availability of specific services),

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Dave_HH:

Soups touche' ... right on, agreed, most likely it was someone Engineering Management weasel that probably made the call... or wait... it was dropped, so they probably couldn't make any call. :)

The great thing about being an executive is that even if you fail, you have a nice severance package waiting for you. Also...you get to set your own pay pretty much. It was a decision made looking at the short term and now AT&T is paying for it.

 

rapid1:

I agree gibbersome if this were the case the early termination fines would disappear at least at a reasonable time line. This is if the market actually worked on validity of great service from a provider. This would also be the best for everyone (except the provider with the lowest coverage and or availability of specific services),

Yep, that would be another big advantage...no termination fees. Simply buy your own phone and you'd be set. One of the issues is that the mass public would miss the free phones they get with a 2 yr contract. Make no mistake, if people had to cough up $400 for each generation of Iphone, they would not be as prevalent.

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rapid1 replied on Tue, Jan 26 2010 5:23 PM

Oh that's definite, but either way I am not exactly saying a consumer would have to pay for a new phone. I am saying the exclusivity clause be changed more so. Say your exclusivity clause was the remainder of the phones value on a 12 month spread. In the end because people would get new phones every year they would have an added income as well. So it would make financial sense. The benefit for the consumer besides something like this would be the carriers having to actually compete on a performance features network based because people would move faster. That what a true market is supposed to be based on value of service rather than BS commercials and you can't leave us or you owe use BS.

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rapid1 replied on Tue, Jan 26 2010 7:04 PM

Rofl; Granna they may have coverage where you are that is up to par. However; in general there coverage map is significantly smaller than Verizon's. I know this not because of the commercial, but because of research and usage before the map ad's ever started. I dropped Cingular service after my first family contract expired and went back to Verizon because they were better than Sprint and those were my choices and At&t coverage was so choppy. The other thing is that there is no way 3G will beat 4G coverage it is scientifically impossible.

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rapid1 replied on Tue, Jan 26 2010 7:10 PM

I see what your saying gibbersome I wasn't getting your point entirely so it is an auto switch to whoever has stronger coverage in your particular area. That would mean everything is unlimited and everyone receives the same bill monthly no matt .er who they choose, but just as a cellular user and whatever add ons they have. That is pretty interesting! About this stuff about At&t being the best carrier period this is a joke he must be an At&t spammer or something.

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kid007 replied on Wed, Jan 27 2010 2:13 PM

ok today is the 27th and i haven't read nothing in regards iphone leaving at&t so finally all the stupid speculation will be over... (hopefully) now we got to worried about the 2012 one hehehehe

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@ Granna. You should really do some investigating before you spout off things you obviously have no clue about. First off, Verizon was Apple's first pick for an exclusive carrier when the iPhone first came out, but Verizon turned Apple down. Why did Verizon turn them down? Most sources say that Apple wanted to much control and money off subs, but who really knows. Maybe Verizon just turned them down to invest their money into making their 3G network larger and more stable than AT&T's. Second, as far as people being gullible and the lawsuit your referring to, the maps Verizon shows are actually correct. If you take notice to the bottom of their maps it says, "3G Coverage", not overall coverage. Furthermore, AT&T has made no statements saying these maps are at all incorrect nor have they denied it, the basis of their lawsuit is that it gives customers the sense that AT&T has no coverage outside of the 3G area. Funny how AT&T tries to retort with their lame Luke Wilson commercials yet make no mention at all about their 3G coverage when that's what Verizon is pointing out in the first place. It is a FACT that Verizon has a larger more widespread 3G network. As for the speeds of AT&T's 3G being faster, it's so minuscule that the average user would not even notice a difference, I mean we are talking 100-300kbps if that and that's only with full 3G service.

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Either way the contract is up in June anyways.

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rapid1 replied on Wed, Jan 27 2010 6:01 PM

Yeah Hybrid Granna was just spouting off I think. The funny part about all of it is the lawsuit was thrown out a week or two ago. The new commercials like the headless download on Verizon thats so messed up was after there lawsuit was ruled invalid. Oh and that is the second lawsuit the first one had already been thrown out. So At&t lost two lawsuits from what I understand and I imagine had too pay Verizon's legal costs to. The main thing about all this is like you pointed out in the bottom right corner of all the commercials is states for 3G coverage only on both maps.

As for At&t's 3g being good that's basically a joke. He must live in one of the markets where they have already done there 3G upgrades to the higher end of 3G. The big joke is most providers besides At&t and T-Mobile I think is there partner network (Verizon and Sprint) are rolling out 4G as we speak, my city centrally (Atlanta) has been done for a couple of months. From what I understand I can get it if I go with Sprint (and I am 45 minutes north of Atlanta) now. So I would assume I can partially get it through Verizon now but on the Sprint towers, I am hoping soon I will be able to fully receive it with Verizon.

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Soupstyle replied on Wed, Jan 27 2010 6:04 PM

did the announcement today say anything anything about the iPhone exclusivity?

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Figured he was probably just a troll, but also figured someone should educate him despite the fact.  I'm on the south side of Atlanta myself  :)

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Lets NOT go there about AT&T being a great service. You obviously never saw MY article in print and online in print about my 7 hour ordeal of returning 1 phone. It was such a stink the president in the northeast AT&T region phoned me, offered to let me out of my contract (3 lines) and sent me a brand new Windows based PDA to "hush" me. I kid you not.

I had had AT&T like many people for 3 yrs or more. This happened fall 2009. I called customer care at 7:30am and my neighbors were coming home from work, the sun went down and I was still standing outdoors ( crappy signal where we live...of course) while everyone had dinner and ended their day.

Just recently we had a problem and this time I was on the phone almost 3 hours to correct a billing error. I don't know what the problem is with customer service this last year but it's taken a BIG NOSE DIVE. Sprint did me much better offering $99. a month for unlimited EVERYTHING, so we RAN from AT&T. So should everyone else!

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Bredbaand replied on Mon, Jun 28 2010 6:12 AM

it's so disappointing that they didn't loose their exclusive iPhone Exclusivity..

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dxissodum replied on Sat, Aug 14 2010 3:29 AM

lots of verizon fanboys here

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rapid1 replied on Sat, Aug 14 2010 12:36 PM

Some At&t (and I would imagine iPhone fanboy posted something to this discussion), it is interesting to see where we are at now. What gibbersome said "I'm actually with millca on this one. Google's Nexus One will be available on both GSM and CDMA networks...if Apple doesn't follow suit, how much market share do they stand to lose?", is the most interesting to me at this point in time as you can see the evidence directly.

Apple has not yet (of course it is rumored to by November be producing a CDMA phone) done it, and we see the results. Apple much like back in the day keeps a locked and proprietary OS on there devices. As long as the general public does not really see the difference (in this case on Android), the Apple side "LOOK'S" nicer, but is actually less operationally. Now it is up against an open source opponent, which in accordance with the current market is going to knock Apple down even faster I think in the open market.

I watched a couple presentations on various sites a couple of days ago on the exact subject of iPhone or IOS vs. Android. Most of them were with previous Apple die hard's IE: Fanboy's, they were in general amazed at what they could do as well as what could be done developmentally on an open source platform. The attitude in general was that while the Apple devices may look prettier (they were generally around  the time of the EVO and iPhone 4 release time), the Android devices were better operationally all the way around.

To look at this now and consider as gibber stated from the what do they stand to loose view point, it seems they are loosing popularity directly. I am actually looking at new phones because I will be going on the road for 2 months in about 2 weeks, and my phone is about 3 years old now (Env2). So I could use an update. My main choices have been Verizon (my current Provider), Sprint, and At&t. I hear to much negativity about At&t especially outside of some major cities. I wonder the same about Sprint, but have no direct knowledge yet! I need a reliable connection nation wide as the team I am working with, and therefore me as a representative will be traveling nation wide. Not only will I be going nation wide, we will be doing work in Walmart, and Sam's Club locations as well as some of there new pilot community (smaller) locations.

So over all I will probably stay with Verizon because they have more network available,  although I think Verizon and Sprint partner in some way on towers because both of there equipment type's transmit the same, I don't have a lot of detail on it. The reason I have been with Verizon as long as I have now is from one trip I had years ago right after I started using them. I flew from Atlanta, Ga. to Portland, Or. and had service all the way across the country in the jet except for a 15 minute break in the very middle of the country. Remember this was also before wifi ore even cellular was really available on plains directly.

I am open to go to any provider who gives me the best coverage not because they have the coolest phone. For now that still looks like Verizon even if they are a little more expensive!

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