AT&T is one of the two biggest carriers in the country. Its network features the second-fastest mobile broadband in the United States, and its device selection is excellent; you can buy tablets, hotspots and all of the latest mobile phones at subsidized prices. AT&T's problem is that whatever your needs might be, there's always a better option: Verizon boasts wider coverage, T-Mobile outpaces its speed and Sprint features better bang for your buck. AT&T is still a fine carrier, but it can't surpass the best cell phone providers in the nation
Verizon is the largest cell phone provider in America, offering the most reliable coast-to-coast coverage and the highest consistent speeds and uptime in the industry. Barring a couple of the competition's carrier exclusives, you also have your pick of almost any phone on the market, and Verizon's customer service team is well recognized for its quality. Granted, you pay a lot for all of that stability and choice, so if you're on a budget your best cell phone plans may be a little lower on our lineup. If you're looking for the best of the best overall, Verizon is the only true contender. -
Both Verizon (the largest wireless provider in the U.S.) and AT&T (the second-largest wireless provider in the U.S.), offer “shared plans.” Meaning, you can share your voice minutes (see stators view ), texting, and data across multiple devices. The plans are sometimes a more economical alternative for small businesses, families, and other groups who want to “pool” usage and receive billing under one account. Shared plans can be tricky though to calculate, because instead of figuring out how much data you use on your own device, you have to calculate all the devices together to reach a shared total.
Luckily, both wireless companies provide calculator tools to figure out how much data you may need. But it’s not uncommon for users to go over their estimated usage ( see here ) and, for overage fees to be a major source of frustration with your wireless provider. Overages are just one of the associated fees we’ll look at in this comparison. It was a close race, but a winner was determined. So let’s get started and see how each provider’s plans compare, to determine who gives you the best rates and services.
AT&T’s second shared plan option pertains to internet-only devices (meaning, non-talk devices), such as tablets, gaming devices, laptops and netbooks. The plan also includes mobile hotspot and tethering capability on supporting devices. A sample Internet device plan would be a tablet ($10 per mo.), Mobile Hotspot device ($20 per mo.), and 4GB shareable data ($30 per mo.), totalling $60 per month.
Verizon also offers a separate plan for Internet devices. With an Internet plan you can have up to 10 devices which share from a data pool. A sample Internet device plan would be a tablet ($10 per mo.), JetPack Wi-Fi Hotspot ($20 per mo.), and 4GB shareable data ($30 per mo.), which would total $60 per month.
AT&T's financing offers a few different options for monthly phone payments. "AT&T Next 12" lets you upgrade to a new phone in 12 months but spreads the cost of the phone into 20 monthly installments. If you trade in your phone for a newer one after 12 months, AT&T waives the shared monthly bill. But if you pay all 20 installments, the phone is yours to keep.
Verizon's financing terms aren't for people who want to upgrade their phones early. Verizon used to let customers upgrade after paying off 50 percent of the cost of their phones, but the company changed it so that you now have to pay the full 100 percent. With Verizon, you're dividing the cost of the phone across 24 monthly payments, and then you can do with it as you wish. After making 24 months of payments, customers can "recycle their old device for an account credit, donate it to bug tracking to help stop get a better system, or give it to a friend or family member to activate.
One thing is certain, with so many competitors in the phone-carrier business you have options for just about every budget and preference. If you feel like you're paying just as much now as you ever did. But assuming you buy the phone outright, you'll at least have the option of switching carriers without penalty.