Picking a phone is hard enough, but with millions of people wanting the iPhone 5, there are many options to go through, especially which carrier to choose from.
We review the differences with the carriers and plans they offer, as well as some changes some of them have made because of the iPhone 5.
Starting with AT&T, the first to offer the iPhone is changing some of the rules, if you are not with the company now, they are forcing you to a whole new selection of plans where if its a Family Plan, you must share data from a bucket you select when starting your plan. If you were one of the lucky ones with the “unlimited plan” At&t has announced that you get “grandfathered in”. They do mention that if you wish to use the FaceTime feature built into the phone, you have to switch to the “shared plan” to reap the benefits of the plan and FaceTime. AT&T does have the largest 4G network but not the largest LTE network. Their version of 4G is a speed boost above 3G speeds, which the iPhone 4S and 5 can benefit from. LTE does give you a more powerful speed boost.
Verizon, follows the new business model by also offering a family shared bucket of data downloads. The main difference with their plans is that due to a court case, they will continue to offer free “HotSpot” capabilities and you get to use your FaceTime feature, but they do not wish to “grandfather” you in your unlimited plan. Verizon wants you to change your plan to upgrade to the iPhone 5. Only if you pay full price for the phone can you keep the unlimited plan you may have. Those who did not have Verizon, gain the knowledge that Verizon has the largest LTE network.
Sprint, being in dire need of customers offers an unlimited plan. This plan seems like the most promising and the deal of the century. FaceTime is covered, but if you want to “HotSpot” there is an additional fee. Offerings of unlimited calls, text and data with no caps is the most appealing of the group, but it has the smallest LTE network, so if speed is what your looking for, know at least that at least 3G speed should work where you live.
All the iPhones can do data and phone calls on the networks provides the networks were built to support it. Currently the only LTE network that has that technology is AT&T.
ADDITIONAL INFO: If you paid full price for your iPhone GSM phone, T-mobile does support 3G in a few areas thanks to AT&T’s agreement to share spectrum with T-Mobile. So if that helps, check it out. Their LTE currently uses a separate frequency, so that will not work with the iPhone 5.
Tell us what you think.