To follow-up on my post on whether or not to get the Verizon iPhone, a few people suggested to me that they would be sticking with At&t and were excited/hopeful that the network quality would improve when users leave for Verizon. Here are 3 reasons why I believe this not to be true:
1. One reason why the experience on At&t is so poor is due to coverage. At&t simply doesn’t have towers or coverage in certain spots, astonishing but true in major metro areas like NY or SF. Users leaving for Verizon won’t have any impact on this at all.
2. This is the most important reason. At&t encourages the common misconception that their network difficulties are about bandwidth. The common refrain is that iPhone users are consuming a ton of data, and the wireless towers and backhaul links can’t handle all of that traffic. According to many sources though, this is not the case. Articles from Business Insider and Ars Technica explain the details, but At&t’s problems are largely about signaling architecture. This won’t change at all until At&t has a new 4G LTE network running.
3. At&t’s network has never been good, even when they had millions fewer iPhone users. They simply don’t view network quality as a core differentiator. Reducing the iPhone users on their network won’t change this. If anything, they’ll see it as a reason to cut back on network quality/expenditures. Despite their [many] other faults, Verizon has positioned their network quality as their core differentiator and they are willing to invest and work to maintain this advantage.
As to whether or not Verizon’s network will get worse, there’s certainly a chance it will, but I wouldn’t see it as a guarantee either. Aside from Verizon’s aforementioned commitment to their network and probably better-architected network/signaling, many carriers in both Europe and Asia support the iPhone and its data-hungry users quite well. There’s no reason to think that Verizon will be more like At&t and less like the majority.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news on this….
- Lessons from AT&T might help Verizon survive iPhone (macworld.com)