Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Cingular (AT&T) vs. Verizon vs. T-Mobile vs. Sprint...

Since I am a huge geek when it comes to having the latest and greatest in cellphone technology, many of my friends often come to me with questions about wireless networks, plans and gripes. I received one such question yesterday about T-Mobile vs. Cingular, and have decided, in the interest of benefiting humanity, to post my "official" reply about wireless technology, and why I choose the way I do, here for all to enjoy. So, without further adieu...

I happen to like Cingular (now AT&T), but I'll always be impartial when deciding what I want. However, the things that I value most lead me to continue service with AT&T. So, this email will lean in that direction, FYI.

T-Mobile has great plans and cool phones, but their coverage does have big holes, which are, ironically, covered by AT&T as a roaming signal for T-Mobile. T-Mobile is also behind every cellular carrier in terms of Internet access. The fastest speeds their network can handle are lightyears behind Cingular and Verizon (even Sprint). They will not be at the speed AT&T currently operates until 2009.

A friend of mine was on T-Mobile for 2 weeks and absolutely hated it. Too many dead spots, he said.

AT&T is rolling out the fastest wireless Internet in the world later this summer. That means, with the right plan you could dump your home ISP and have wireless Internet on your computer that would work anywhere you had cell service - all at cable speeds. Pretty cool, huh?

I can't speak to T-Mobile or Verizon, but my experience with AT&T's customer service has been awesome. Also, AT&T offers upgrade bonuses after a year, and they subsidize a greater portion of the cost of their phones. In the end, the costs all even out with other carriers.

Oh yeah, AT&T also has rollover minutes. That means, anything left over from your plan at the end of your billing cycle gets carried over to the next month, and so on. That has saved my butt on the months I've gone over.

Also, with free mobile-to-mobile calling, and with a good third (probably more) of the population on AT&T, you can use a plan with fewer minutes and never go over. I have the 450 minute plan and haven't gone over in a year - mainly because most of my calls go to other AT&T customers. So, in that respect, my plan is pretty cheap. Same goes for texts.

More positive: AT&T operates on dual-band GSM. This means your phone will work anywhere in the word, will have a SIM card and will have better building penetration (indoor reception) than other single-band GSM carriers like T-Mobile.

Negative: AT&T doesn't work in the Washington Metro (subway). But then, it's nice to have a time out from the 'ole electronic leash once in a while...

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

thank you! it seems to be all the rage and the cool thing to do now, by hating on cingular(at&t)... but i was a customer of theirs before being an employee and i have never had the problems other people i know with other companies have had. it's cool to bash the biggest company, but in my experience it has been a good one. being from south mississippi they were the first carrier up and running fully after katrina. they helped all of their employees affected by katrina and gave their customers in those areas 50% off their bill and charged no overage on anything for the 2 following months and worked with thousands more for months after for those who couldn't afford to pay bills. they also donated thousands of prepaid minutes and phones to katrina victims. with at&t with full control and not just 60%, it's only going to get better. as much as i loved the little orange guy (jack), the blue and white globe adds a little class to it.

i'm glad to hear your positive comments about my favorite company in the world!!! (from one geek to another!!!)

Dan said...

Thanks for your comments. Like I said, I try to be impartial. If I found a company that made the kind of sense to me that AT&T does, I'd probably switch. Although, in all honesty, I've been with AT&T since 1997! I should buy stock...

It's funny, because the biggest complaint I hear from people about Cingular (AT&T) is, "they drop too many calls." Yet, when pressed, they can't think of the last time a call was dropped! This phantom complaint goes back to the original days of Cingular, when they were using TDMA phones (a defunct technology that's been dead, albeit unofficially, for years). Unfortunately, the impression stuck.

My hope is that with the name change back to AT&T will come the perceived security that a major telecom provider seems to offer.

Also, when it comes to call quality - AT&T's GSM is FAR superior to Verizon and Sprint's CDMA (at least technically). With CDMA networks like Verizon, the call clarity goes down with each call that is placed through a particular cell tower. When too many calls are being switched in one tower, people get dropped. It's that simple.

The further we move from the name Cingular, the better the company perception will get. The stockholders knew this, which is why they kept the name. :)

Former ATT customer said...

The funny thing is, if you use anthing other than basic phone service, ATT is a terrible choice. Our company uses Blackberry Enterprise and it is $30 dollars less a month with TMo than ATT. With TMo, we also get unlimited internet and laptop tethering all for $19.99/mo. ATT wants to charge a RIDICULOUS additional $59/mo for thethering, I mean, come on folks, that is absurd. I was an ATTwireless/Cingular customer for 8 years before I switched to TMo and I find TMo to be MUCH friendlier in the Customer Service department and their data plans to be far better. Not to mention, they have better phones, and they allow you to UNLOCK your phone. Just try that with Cingular/ATT, not in a million years. TMo treats their customers like adults, ATT, like babies, you can only have the phones they chose, with locked systems. If you prefer to be dominated by your company, choose ATT, if you prefer to be a peer, go TMo

Dan said...

You forget, T-Mobile wireless internet is painfully slow. AT&T has wireless Internet that rivals cable and DSL speeds. So, if you can replace your home service with a wireless ISP that works anywhere AT&T has a signal (which, by the way, is far stronger and in exponentially more places than TMo, I think $59 is a pretty dang good deal - especially considering I pay almost that much for a land-based cable connection.

Also, AT&T unlocks certain phones on request. And, the reason why TMo unlocks their phones is because you are paying a higher price for them. AT&T subsidizes a large portion of the cost of their phones. Therefore, they have a right to with them as they wish. But again, any "adult" can easily unlock their phone, either through AT&T or one of the million places online and elsewhere that will do it for you.

I can't speak to BES pricing, but again, AT&T phones work and will have coverage in far more places that TMo. So, the extra $30 a month for an entire company seems justified.

Anonymous said...

i agree with dan.. i just switched from t-mobile to at&t i like it alot better than t-mobile because i can use my phone in alot more places than i could with t-mobile. Plus i had the internet plan it was almost as slow as dial up

Mohammed said...

I have had AT&T for almost two year. And I got a prepaid service with t-mobile for a friend who was visiting from overseas. When he left I renewed his service and kept it for the sake of comparing coverage. I found that t-mobile by far much better than AT&T in the Washington metro Area. I tried both carriers everywhere and t-mobile beat AT&T in terms of coverage. If the prices are the same, I will switch in a heart beat.

Anonymous said...

Are you being paid by AT&T? Seriously!

Abhi said...

i would to know more about the " AT&T Wireless Internet plans " VS verizon wireless internet plans ........ i dont know which one to get . both of the companies are charging $60 per month ( 5 GB ) but AT&T is saying that they are having 3G , Verizon is bragging about Broadband ........... i wanna get a USB aircard for my laptop . but dont know who to sign up with ?

at&t or verizon
i want the coverage + speed

can you guys compare 3g with att vs broadband with verizon wireless

Anonymous said...

telling from the prices, AT&T is a better deal, along with its prepaid plan, you don't pay for minutes you call with other at&t users. Many networks have this, but consider AT&T is a much larger company and has more customers than verizon or t mobile.

Anonymous said...

I'm t-mobile customer and my 2 year agreement is almost up. I started looking for new phones and providers. Most of ppl i know have at&t and they love it. However, t-mobile has better deals for family plans and tons of free phones + 1 txt messaging charge for the entire plan while other providers charge $15 and more per line. I really don't care about having internet on my phone and all I need is minimalistic family plan with txt messaging and 3 FREE decent phones. I really hate the choice of the phones at&t has. Verizon has the best phones (like lg env2), but they're pricey as well as their overall service.

So I really don't know what to do, but I don't want to go back to t-mobile because of shitty coverage in SF Bay Area.

Can anyone give me any suggestion?

Anonymous said...

i just want to say that I deposited 500 dollars to get a stupid phone at atnt and when I canceled my contract (cause the phone they offered doesnt work, plus when asked to change; they gave me another phone that doesnt work... now back to canceling my contract.. I paid the early termination fee and everything, and the agent told me that they will send me a check of $350 dollars from the deposit.. and I have been waiting for 5 months.. and no sign from them... when tryint to contact back,... It wont let me because i need to press the 10 digit #.. but its status is "canceled" PLus// UNLIKE Sprint... AT*T customer service is horrible.. because you have to be listening and pressing numbers to actually talk to an agent;;;;;; i waited 30 mins;;; listening to numbers and put me on hold.. all of the calls I have ever made only took 10-20 sec for an agent to answer, AND!!! they dont put you on hold for more than 2 minutes!... and by the way..about BBC, (conection cards)... uhm./.''';;;;;; Sprint is offering the 4G network, plus the 5G network.. and it was be the first to AMERICA... so when speaking of 3G.. it gives me giggles..
Some of you might be wondering.. oh~ he is a Sprint Fan.. but no sir.. if I had to pick from all these... it would defintely not be HELL No.. NEVER IN MY LIFE T-mobile... and Verizon and AT&T.. DEFINETLY Verizon!!.. Verizon has better coverage. About rollover..who needs them;;; dont you understand;;; AT&T's roll over is a trap;; why are you paying more for minutes you dont even use;;;;; get a plan that suits perfectly to your monthly needs.. paying more for something you dont use;;; that is absurd...
i would say
1) Verizon
2) Sprint
3)......something else.......
4) AT&T
5) can we skip this?
99) T-Mobile.
100) US celullar.. and Virgin mobile.. etc.. and the rest little kid celullar companies...

thanks for reading, this is a real life situation and facts about the carriers. hope you make the wise decision. (Terroniro)

Anonymous said...

F..K AT&T

Anonymous said...

Well, from my experiences along with my friends', none of us have ever been on the T-mobile network, so i dont know their coverage. But some of my friends have At&T, and they never have service, NEVER. I am on the Verizon Network, and i always have bars. Now, i dont always have all of my bars, but there is always service. My friends on sprint always have bars, but never to many.

Armil@verizon internet said...

That was really a good experience for us readers to learn and reflect from it. Thanks!

Priya Dharshini said...

Thanks for giving information.
It's very useful guide for beginners.
I followed your Article and chose AT&T plan.
But i have orange locked mobile phone.So i needed to unlock my phone to put AT&T sim card service.So i searched through Google.Finally i got an unlocking service from WickedUnlock.com I never had any problem.Now i really enjoy with my new AT&T service.