featured
featured
PhoneDog Media Exclusive
Download iM5, now available in the App Store and Google Play. iM5 is a PhoneDog Media backed Social Platform to inspire real-life action through the crowdsourcing of ideas. See the video

In case you hadn't noticed, today is iPhone 5 day. UPS and FedEx trucks are delivering shiny, new (and possibly even pre-scratched like mine) iPhones to wanting hands all across the nation today. If you aren't waiting in line or sitting by the door waiting on the delivery truck to drop yours off today (or over the next few weeks), chances are you're a little more cautious or wary than us who are so gung-ho about new devices. You probably like to wait it out, see if any issues arise and play the best possible hand.

That's a good thing, especially when it comes to the iPhone. This time around, the latest iPhone is available in three flavors here in the U.S. – Verizon Wireless, AT&T or Sprint – and each one comes with its own set of benefits. Depending on your situation, it may cost your family less to pack up and leave your current carrier for a new one.

The million dollar question is: which iPhone 5 should you buy for yourself and/or your family?

First and foremost, coverage should be the first thing you check out. No matter what awesome deal each carrier will offer, it's worth little if you can't make a phone call or browse the Web in most of the places you go. So if Sprint offers the sweetest data deal (ahem … can anyone say "unlimited LTE"?) but doesn't provide your area with enough coverage, you may want to spend some time pondering paying a little more and going to AT&T or Verizon.

Of course, everyone should know that by now, and checking coverage maps should be your very first step in the buying process. But the second thing you should inquire about is what each of the carriers have to offer. Let me break it down for you:

 

Sprint

On paper and according to my wallet, Sprint's offer is a tough one to pass on. Starting at just $80 per month, it offers a truly unlimited data plan with unlimited messaging and unlimited calling to any mobile phone. Sprint's fresh LTE network paired with unlimited data is a heavy data user's dream come true.

However, check your area for LTE coverage. Sprint's is the newest of them all and, respectively, the smallest. You wouldn't want to buy an LTE phone only to discover you will be stuck on Sprint's 3G – which has been under quite a bit of scrutiny as of late – for the foreseeable future, would you?

 

AT&T

When it comes to plan options, AT&T has the largest selection by decent margin. As a new customer, you can select Mobile Share, which offers unlimited calling and messaging while allowing multiple users to share a data pool, or choose a family plan with separate data packages per user.

Individual plans begin at $59 per month for 450 minutes and 300MB of data and range to $139 for unlimited minuted, messaging and 5GB of data. Families can start for $110 with 700 minutes and two 300MB data packages. Or for $250, a family of two can get unlimited calls, messaging and 5GB of data each. A similar setup on Mobile Share would only cost $180 per month.

If you are upgrading on AT&T, you can either opt to switch to Mobile Share or keep your existing plan when upgrading. The nice perk here is the ability to keep your grandfathered unlimited data plan, although it is subject to throttling after 3GB.

The perk with AT&T is that you get a supplementary HSPA+ network that is active in most 3G areas and offers speeds that sit nicely between 3G and LTE speeds.

 

Verizon Wireless

Verizon has the most concise choices of all. You can either keep what you have or most to Share Everything when upgrading. New customers will be offered Share Everything. And if you have a grandfathered unlimited data plan, you can kiss it goodbye. It will expire once you upgrade and you will have to choose the data tier that fits your needs.

The bottom tier Share Everything plan starts at $80 per month for unlimited calling and texts with 300MB of data. The next step up is $90 for a bump to 1GB of data. From 2GB to 20GB in increments of two, plans increase by $10 more per month. And monthly access fees are $40 per smartphone, $30 per basic phone, $20 per hotspot and $10 per tablet.

Verizon, while it doesn't offer as many choices when it comes to plan offerings, claims to have the largest LTE network in America, covering over 75 percent of U.S. customers. It is definitely large, and Verizon is building it out rather quickly. To some, that may be worth a few extra pennies each month.

 

Restrictions and technology barriers

Aside from wireless providers' plans, monthly rate options and coverage, there are other individual features to consider.

For example, the CDMA models (both Sprint and Verizon) of the iPhone 5 will not feature simultaneous voice and data like GSM models due to a hardware incompatibility with the network technology. The single chip and antenna design Apple went with means the iPhone 5 cannot simultaneously use LTE and CDMA networks like other CDMA/LTE devices. The AT&T and international GSM models, on the other hand, will support this feature by rolling back to HSPA+ or 3G networks. You can, however, use Wi-Fi while on a call with CDMA iPhone 5s.

Another hot topic pending the release of the iPhone 5 was FaceTime over cellular, a new feature of iOS 6. Verizon and Sprint have agreed not to charge for the service. Meanwhile, AT&T requires users to be on their Mobile Share to use the feature without a Wi-Fi connection.

 

Beyond these factors, you're getting essentially the same exact phone. You can choose either black or white, 16, 32 or 64GB, which will set you back $199, $299 or $399, respectively, with a two-year agreement with whatever carrier you choose. All models come with LTE and a fantastic camera bolted to the back.

Ultimately, it is up to you and your family to choose what suits your needs best, which carrier provides better services for a better price. Is simultaneous voice and data worth it to you? Consider AT&T. Or do you plan to FaceTime over 3G a lot? I would look at Sprint's coverage in your area as FaceTime will likely chew through data, which can be expensive if you're not paying a flat rate for unlimited.

Do you know which carrier you're going with? Have you already bought your iPhone 5? Which carrier did you choose? Sound off in the comments below, and don't forget to participate in our poll!


Don't forget to VOTE! Each week, PhoneDog Fans vote for their #1 smartphone in the Official Smartphone Rankings. Vote now and contribute to the industry's most relevant weekly ranking charts


Products mentioned in this Article



eBay prices for the Apple iPhone 5 16GB Black


Related posts



Comments & discussions  

145 Reactions to this post

"Which carrier did you buy your iPhone on?"


Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
Add
Thanks for your participation! :)

John Anthony at&t by far
Oshane K Duffus #Sprint, they work with me quite well considering that i've been using 3G for the longest just a lil 4G will be fine with me, plus it will only get better over time...
Jody Warrick @teron.. It's called an upgrade. And we can sell our 4s to more than pay for an upgrade. Chill.
Steve Coyle None... I'll stick with Android... I'll never buy an Iphone
Oscar Alvarado Duh VERIZON!!!!
Teron Facey I'm not brainwashed into spending 600-800 dollars on a new pointless phone for a half an inch bigger screen. I don't understand this. People complain about high phone bills yet you buy a new phone when your 4 or 4S is working perfectly fine.
Ross Silva NONE! im not buying that piece of rehashed restrictive phone
Rich Wydra AT&T Talk & web at the same time
Adrian Jordan I'll pick up an iPhone 5 later on Verizon.
Michigan Fancyman I thought this was a train that died a long time ago. Glad the market is now 70% android, hopefully soon I can stop hearing about iPhone.
Zak Taylor Verizon hands down, the fastest LTE speeds BUT they are also the most e pensive
Justin Cartier none because I hate the iPhone. I'm running a Galaxy Nexus on big red.
August White Sprint for the Unlimited data. However, I would have liked to have Verizon for the better LTE availability.
Joe Yarger P.S. Those of you on the old Verizon plan with unlimited data, You do realize you are losing that right? Especially after you upgraded your phone today. I don't care what the rep told you when he said you could keep your old plan, wait till ya see your bill next month. SURPRISE!
Joe Yarger While I don't personally care for the Iphone, I can't say it sucks. The technology is pretty solid. I just happen to be a Samsung Galaxy Fan. However to answer the actual question, I would personally say sprint. Yes, Verizon may be a lil faster (when you can get a stable Connection) Yes, AT&T may be the original Iphone Carrier. However, Sprint, While perhaps a lil slower, is catching up on the 4G LTE Spectrum. It also is the only carrier to offer TRUELY Unlimited Data. With Verizon or AT&T, if you stream videos on your Icrap, I mean IPhone, LOL, You are going to use your alotted data very quickly. Then you have to worry about overage charges. With sprint, there are no overage charges. Unlimited Minutes, Unlimited Text, and my personal Favorite, Unlimited DATA. No one talks on their phones anymore, so the the whole "Can you hear me now" Junk is over. Most people are sending pics, video, and streaming data more than ever. No other carrier but sprint allows you to do so, AS MUCH as you want.
T Louis Michael ATT GoPhone.
David DiPilla Verizon is the best
Dylian Nathanael Christopher Greene @Krik Abkes, how can you say flash is dead? How do you think you view your videos on your computer, or browse the web quickly with your phone? Oh wait, it's an iPhone, it doesn't do web browsing quickly
Keith Barton I bought for AT&T today...played with it for a few hours and went right back to my GS3
Iam Miguel Waiting for the galaxy note 2 n the Samsung galaxy s 4 which is coming in febuary
Lamine Aim Iphone 5 : THE NEXT BIG THING IS SOMEWHERE ELSE lol
Lamine Aim Galaxy S3 = LOTS OF NEW OPTIONS / iPHONE 5 = ZERO OPTIONS
Kirk Abkes Flash is DEAD!! Get a clue. Long live the iPhone!!
Ayyo ItsRedboi U shouldn't buy it cuz its da same as da other ones dat r already released
Lee Tucker Verizon. Was 13th in line and they ran out of the black 16 gig. Took the white one. It is in a black Otterbox case. Didn't see a problem with that.
Stephen Norton None because its another shitty iPhone
Gary Bowling None. Galaxy S III on T-Mobile!
Josh Avondoglio None. Galaxy S III on T-Mobile!
Tiffany Earl The iPhone doesn't have flash
Lamine Aim i mean seriously, even the idiot can tells you how big diffrence there is between the GS3 and this iphone 5 , so many features on the GS3 that the iphone 5 has nothing to compete with , tell me one new option in the iphone 5 ; NONE
Tiffany Earl Everybody claim they want an iPhone 5 but really they just want the 4 inch screen. I'm sure you iPhone users are saying it's about time. Lol
Tyler Vieira "the next big thing is already here" is about as original as "it just... works."
Lamine Aim NONE ASWELL , i'm buying soon the GS3 and i'm happy with my choice, THE NEXT BIG THING IS HERE !!!
David Kaylor NONE .......NOT A SHEEP......LIKE MY WINDOWS PHONE !
William Plotner Holy grammar
Andy Jaggars I got unlocked iPhone 4S for tmobile but an iPhone is still an iPhone
Chika Emil Okechukwu IPhone sucks crack, lumia 900 til the end #teamwindowsphone
Sean Watson No flaws? I watched an unboxing today where it froze! Next question
Phil Ofthefuture Why would i waste a penny on the shitphone 5?
Antoine Everette I'm not do for an upgrade until next year so if I do get an iPhone it will be the iPhone 4s
George Cruz Att but, I was wondering how good sprint is now : /
Jacob Ryan Fortner @Thomas You have no idea what you're talking about.
Rachelnelsoncecilia Mejia forget the iphone. i aint not damn sheep...i like being able to customize my stuff my way so im all about Android...i love my Galaxy S3 and am waiting for the Note 2 to come out on AT&T so i can get it too. AT&T LTE is amazing...30-40 mbps down constantly and 10-20 mbps up here in Houston/Cypress area.
Adan James Salinas Buying iphone 5 on any other carrier besides verizon is like buying a gimped iphone. Its all about LTE.
RodrigoyClaudia Salazar With android you can do anything out of the box hell you can even play Super Nintendo games and regular Nintendo games even PlayStation games without rooting it or jailbreaking it try doing that an iphone see how far you'll get hahaha galaxy nexus jelly bean on verizon 4G lte no phone like it
Tyler Vieira Don't get a fucking bargain bin android phone then. I change the ROM on my android phone at least every day, and I don't even have any of those problems
Marrion Bell and im a T-Mobile customer with a s3
Marrion Bell true @jose true but android flaws freeze alot. Random reset crashing lack of games lots of crap
Thomas Glenn Owens Samsung Galaxy S3 is a POS I have had 3 and and all of the logic boards burned up from over heating I am getting the iPhone 5 next friday on cspire to see if it does any good! Android is to damn slow no matter what device it is on!
Dequan Ellis Verizon
Jose Pablo Islas Lol no flaws? Try maps...
Will Beasley You people and your phone arguments are hilarious. Arguing which billion dollar company to give your money to. It's a blast readin this stuff!
Jose Pablo Islas The one that named an android iPhone 5?
Marrion Bell @Michael ftanzone sprint suck and all iPhone haters if it suck y when had no flaws or virus and freezing spam like android
John Elizondo None its just a iPhone that's been rolled with a roller
Creighton McCain None sticking with Windowsphone! thanks haha :)
Joseph Khoo Imma wait til the price of att version goes down on craigslist and imei unlock it for 49.99 on applenberry... Since then, i can use it on tmo lolzzz
Michael Franzone I PHONE SUXS BUT I DEF SAY SPRINT...
Chuck Rico Taylor None get the galaxy s3 the iPhone sucks
Marti Ruiz from the hell wireless
Tony Abiama Galaxy Nexus all day
Desmond Cook HTC One x+ all the way, got it today!
Markus Howard u should buy an android. it just works
Brandon Landry at&t 32 GB white
Mike A Graver Jr. I phone just now caught up to all of the androids
Juwon Donte Lol not impressed with the iPhone 5 looks like the iPhone 4 why even get excited for the same phone over and over again
Silver Diaz wow you samsung faggots have ZERO life if all you do is wait around for a apple post, to hop on and troll.
Teresa L Smith Waiting on the note2!
Jose Santiago Gonzalez bigger screen and 4g lte WOW!!! NOT!!!
Karl Wuscher The lollipop guilds carrier
Tuan Bui Because iPhone user take care good vision care that why don't need the big green
Tyler Toth Atleast see another thing the spell check sucks !
Marlo Maddox Boone I don't think too many people care about the new iPhone!
Tuan Bui Next year android will make a cell phone with 12 inch for droid user
Veronica Schindler Verizon...just got it a bit ago.
Robert Urriza still like the iPhone. carriers can be a hassle just downloaded the new ios6 on my 4s just to find out I can't FaceTime over cellular network with AT&T. I'm heated up now. choosing options wisely and phone maybe.
Preston Welsh None. Don't buy that piece of junk.
Larry Deshields Galaxy Slll >>>>>> it's the best choice. Woohoo they added .5in to the screen. Such a wonderful achievement .
Jeremy Carter Im an iPhone user. I'm not happy with the new iPhone. Going to the HTC ONE X soon
Bryan Lawrence Verizon.
Lance Hill you can keep unlimited data with Verizon but you buy the new phone at full retail price not at the discounted price for signing a 2 year contract which is better anyways because you are not locked in for another 2 years
Yasir Sohail Lol, well well...I am still waiting on the unlocked version. Till than happy with my SGS3. But if the Note 2 comes out before i5 unlocked, I will just get the Note 2.
Michael Balk Tmobile .... unlimited 4g on my galaxy s 3 then in November on my galaxy note 2
Sam Pilsbury @Dilan Parmar the lumia 710 would get killed by basically anything out right now
Joanna Enrique Ramos The galaxy3 is much better more features than iphone #team_android
Ciera Northern Doesn't matter where as long as it is used on the newest carrier... Solavei <3 www.solavei.com/ciera.northern
William Officer Iphone5, not impressing too many folks.. #GalaxyFlight!
Cree Ross Neither waiting for the note 2 on sprint
Dilan Parmar I would very much like that you pit the dogfight against iPhone 5 and the Lumia(s) 710 specifically (really any but the 610 thanks so much
Jami Sims Bought a galaxy nexus instead
Devin Martinez AT&T St.Croix V.I. With snacks & drinks thank u :)
Dave Morgan If hell became a frozen wasteland, if all the signs of the Apocalypse happened at once, if pigs learned how to fly, if Justin Bieber actually had any talent, if an asteroid the size of Texas crashed into Earth because Bruce Willis' finger slipped off the button, and if iSheep everywhere had to register their anal-dwelling butt monkeys, then I suppose I'd buy an iPhone 5 from AT&T.
Kevin Pizana well I'm on Verizon...but I'm waiting on the galaxy note 2...mmmm phablet...lol
Anthony Bailey Wow. PhoneDog.com is on full Crapple dick-riding mode right now. In the last two or so hours, I've seen about four different posts from PhoneDog about that POS iPhone 5. How much stock do you sheep have invested in this company to be promoting them so much??? BTW, I'm waiting to replace my GNote I with the Samsung Galaxy Note II on AT&T.
Joernie Berrios Metro PCS
Mark Fisher Jr. Why would I want a iPhone 5. Ain't nothing wrong with my 3GS.
David D. Susano The original iPhone carrier, AT&T
Kevin McQuade Tell em Joanna!
Ross Belizaire None. I'm gonna wait till the Galaxy Note II comes out, or go for the Galaxy S3. Android FTW!!!
Stephen Wagner Look at all the sheep
Kevin McQuade t mobile
Romi Max unlocked..
Joanna Enrique Ramos Love my galaxy3!
Eduardo Giraldo S3 not iPhone
Brad Carter verizon!
Daniel Quintero Galaxy nexus on sprint but I'm curious on battery life on lte
Tim Cristiano HowardMorris Neither, you shouldn't buy it
Adrian Besharat I bought my Galaxy s3 on Rogers in Canada
Eric King Verizon all the way
George YunqqStarr Torrey AT&T And T-mobile
Eric Hook Galaxy S III Rocks!!!
Hanamichi Kurotsuchi I don't buy iSheeps, I only use ANDROID PHONES. SAMSUNG.
Eduardo Ordaz At the UFO Store.
Shawn Martinez At&t VI They even gave cookies and water
Alexis Ciffone AT&T naturally!!
Steve Hartsock But, buy a One X or S3 instead. ;)
Steve Hartsock AT&T of course.
Zach Cline Verizon next week
Zack Holder The big V




Most popular Videos
Most popular Videos
Most popular Videos

Most popular Reactions
Most popular Reactions
Most popular Reactions

This weeks "People's Choice Rankings" best smartphones
People's Choice Rankings


See all hot devices