I hope you're ready for a first world problem post, because this is probably one of the first worldiest of first world problems I've talked about in a while. However, I feel like it's something I should bring up, because the way data works right now just isn't working out that well for me. And at the moment, it's a little frustrating because mostly it seems like I can't win, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way.
I currently have phones on both Sprint and Verizon. The differences between the two in my area are astounding. You would think that the Kansas City area would have pretty good coverage from Sprint given that their campus is in a suburb of Kansas City, KS. Sprint has a fairly huge influence here in Kansas City if you've never been here, with the Sprint Campus over in Kansas, the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, MO, and all of the venues and arenas that are also sponsored largely by Sprint. When it comes to choosing a carrier around these parts it would seem like a no-brainer to go with the company that is the most local to us. However, I have found that when it comes to actual signal strength and service, Sprint is somewhat lacking (note: I have no idea how well Spark works in the area as it is newly released and my phone doesn't support it, so I can't comment on that). But for most Sprint devices, my experience has been so-so on whether I would get service or not. The biggest bonus with siding with Sprint? Unlimited data. No caps, no throttles, nothing. That's why I like Sprint so much.
But it's still up in the air whether the unlimited data is worth it when more often than not the data won't work. High praises to Spotify Premium for offering offline listening, because without it it's about 50/50 whether my music actually streams or not over Sprint's network throughout the city. The same can be said for my GPS; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But as I mentioned in a post before, it's still nice to know that I will never, ever have to worry about reaching a data cap.
As mentioned, I also have a line on a Verizon plan at the moment. I have only been using Verizon for about a month and already I can say that their service areas are much, much stronger than my experience has been with Sprint. I have found that I'm hardly, if ever, without LTE on my phone, which is saying a lot because lately I have been doing a lot of road traveling which takes me through a lot of rural areas. There are some towns that don't seem to have a soul in sight, yet if I check my phone I will still have 3 to 4 bars of LTE service. It's astounding to me that this is even possible. On Sprint, if I even so much as traveled an hour outside of town to my grandparent's house I would be stuck with no service, no bars, no 3G - nothing. I am off the map. So with Verizon, it's nice to know that I do have solid service.
You would think that all my problems have been solved, but in all actuality having access to Verizon's data all the time is almost just as stressful as not having it at all with Sprint. Why? Because unfortunately, "Unlimited" is no longer an option with Verizon, and the 2GB plan that I'm currently using gets sucked up a lot more quickly because while LTE might be as speedy as a bullet train, it's also the vampire of the smartphone world. LTE can suck away your data faster than you can say "Holy moly overage charges!" three times over. So for the most part I will be stuck using 3G speeds while paying to use 4G data in order to make the amount of data I use last a little longer.
To me, it seems kind of like a pick your poison type of deal. I would love to just jump ship to T-Mobile (hot dog, their campaign is good!), but the coverage around these parts (I do live in a suburb) is also not as strong or solid as I would like. However, it also falls back on an article that I wrote the other day stating that I think that "Unlimited" plans don't have to go away, like the current Verizon CEO suggests, so I guess that's out of the question for now as well. As for AT&T, the one carrier that I've never used, I have honestly just never been intrigued by their packages or their prices.
Right now, having access to data is more important to me than having potentially unlimited amounts of splotchy data; however, that doesn't meant that I wouldn't love to have both. They say you can't eat your cake and have it, too (or vise versa, whichever one tickles your fancy) but I still have hope that one day perhaps both will be available in one happy monthly mobile plan. Maybe if T-Mobile keeps heading in the direction that they're heading, it could happen. Or maybe Verizon will stop being Mobileneezer Scrooge and have a change of heart one of these days (my hopes are not that high for this one) and allow unlimited again. But for now, I'm just going to have to deal with having limited amounts of accessible data.
The struggle is real, folks.
But now we want to hear what you think. When it comes to your data plan, are you completely satisfied with price, monthly allowance and coverage? Or is there one or more things you would like to change? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!