By all reports, Verizon Wireless and AT&T are the two top leading carriers in the nation, by number of subscribers. Other carriers are slowly inching their way up the ladder, but these two have no problems holding their own in all categories. While Verizon ranks number one in terms of awards given, AT&T doesn't fall too far behind them. Compare Verizon and AT&T plans below to get an idea of the plans offered by each carrier. Then, read on for a detailed comparison of Verizon and AT&T.
Verizon and AT&T Compared
Overall, both carriers offer virtually the same retail pricing for their devices. Both carriers have nixed the 2-year contract and offer monthly payment plans for devices, instead of discounted or free phones for enrolling in the old 2-year contracts
Verizon offers a 24-month financing plan where customers with good credit can pay at 0% interest. This doesn't save you too much money in the long run, still ultimately paying close to the full retail amount for the phone at the end of the contract.
AT&T offers the same phones at the same prices but with some different financing options:
AT&T Next: this plan results in a 30-month financing plan versus the 24-month and all-in-all, will have you paying more in the end for the phone. You also have to pay a $15 activation fee. You can upgrade your phone at 24 months, 6 months ahead of the end of the plan.
AT&T Next Every Year: this plan has you paying off your phone in 24 months, but a 30% down payment may be required. The "every year" in the term means you may upgrade your phone every 12 months, in half the time it takes to pay the whole thing off.
AT&T also allows its customers to trade in their phones after the number of months has been reached as stated in each plan. Sounds great, but the catch is, like in the first plan listed, you will have been paying for 24 months but your device is not paid off until 30 months. You will lose all equity when you trade in your device for an ungraded one at the 24-month mark. In essence, it's like being upside down on your car payments when trading in your older car for a new one.
Verizon's plans aren't that complicated, so they win in this category. You pay it off within the allotted months and then you may upgrade to a new device, with no activation fees. You may also upgrade before the last payment is made but, of course, you'll be paying for it.
Back when there were the traditional 2-year contracts, the plan prices could differ if you bought the phone up front. Now, they charge the same price regardless of the phone price. Both companies also now offer a bunch of upgrades and extras to tack onto your plan. Here is the basic breakdown of their plans.
Verizon offers unlimited talk and text for all plans. They now all also offer carryover data. If you don't use all your data allotted for the month, it then rolls over to the next month. Your options, then, are simply in choosing your data usage when deciding which plan is best. The plans range from a single user at 2 GB/month for $35, all the way up the family plan of 30GB +2GB per line/month for $135, with plenty of plan variations in between. You can also choose to boost your data by 1 GB/month for $15.
AT&T offers a Mobile Share Advantage that features roll over data and unlimited talk and text. They certainly have an edge in that there are no overage fees for going over your allotted data for the month. The only catch is that after you go over your data, your operating speed slows down drastically. Per month, they charge $30/1GB all the way up to $450/100GB. They have a larger amount of plans in comparison to Verizon. Then you must add $20/month per phone for an access charge.
All in all, prices are pretty similar for plans. However, as with the devices, Verizon's plans seem to be more straightforward, where AT&T's are a little more confusing and hard to understand.
As always, both plans run promotions throughout the year that attempt to draw in new or returning consumers. Sometimes they offer discounts on the latest phones, no-money-down, or discounts for those switching their carriers.
Verizon has the lead when it comes to network coverage. It also has the leading network speeds in more areas in the country. Verizon now also offers a safety mode to put devices onto a slower connection speed if you are close to reaching your data limit for the month, so you don't end up spending an arm and a leg on overage charges. However, depending on your location, travel habits or particular taste in phones, Verizon may not be the best choice for you.
AT&T offers 4 LTE broadband network access across its extensive network. They're a great choice if you are one who burns through their data quickly or at the very least, before your pay period is up. You won't get hit with a ton of overage charges for going over your data. So if you're a constant gamer or video watcher, you may want to consider AT&T. Also, if you get other services, such as internet or TV, through AT&T, they may offer you discounts on your wireless plans.
Verizon seems to take the lead in the most basic categories. But AT&T rivals it fiercely. They both have competitive prices, numerous options for data and great overall coverage. Whether you're looking for a single or family plan, both carriers offer plenty of options for everyone. Verizon gives you a more straight forward approach with its plans. AT&T may look a bit more confusing but gives customers a wider variety of options to choose from.
Both carriers seem to offer the same prices for phones, at least at retail value. Each company offers their own set of specials and discounts, but for the most part, you'll pay the same retail price per phone. Depending on the carrier, however, you will be paying that retail price differently. One offers upfront monthly payments, the other offers different length options with different upgrade options.
To determine which carrier is the best for you, first you must determine a few things. Is there a phone in particular that you feel you need? Does one carrier have it and the other doesn't or is one carrier carrying a special offer over the other? Do you need a single or family plan? Decide how much data you think yourself or your family may use each month. Consider the possibility of going over your data each month, and what cost that inflict on your bill by each carrier. Pay attention to specials and as always, do your research.
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