Pros and Cons of Switching to a Verzion iPhone

Ready to buy an iPhone now that Verizon can be your carrier? Here’s how to do it.

© Carlos Barria/ReutersIf you’re an iPhone owner who has been counting down the days until you can switch your service to Verizon (and stop losing all those dropped calls) or even if you have another type of cell phone and were waiting to buy an iPhone without AT&T service, your time has come.  But before you swap out your old phone and your old carrier, realize there are a few catches

1.      It will cost you. If you still have a contract with AT&T, you will have to pay an early termination fee to move over to Verizon. AT&T customers who signed up before June 1, 2010 are subject to a $175 early termination fee, with an additional $5 off for each full month of service they’ve completed. Anyone who signed up after June 1 will pay a $325 early termination fee, minus $10 for every month since then. (To find out exactly how much you owe to switch, plug in your numbers here.) What’s more, because AT&T and Verizon use different technologies, you’ll need to buy a new phone even if you already have an iPhone. (For more on selling or trading in your old iPhone, see below.)

2.      You can’t use it in as many countries. The Verizon iPhone works in only 40 countries, compared to AT&T’s, which offers worldwide roaming in 220. (According to The Business Insider, there seem to be few major European ones in which a Verizon iPhone won’t function, including the U.K., France and Germany.) If you travel a lot internationally, you may want to stick with Verizon.

3.      You can’t talk and surf the web at the same time. That different technology mentioned above means that unlike with the AT&T iPhone, talk and data aren’t supported simultaneously.

4.      It’s slower. Sometimes much slower when it comes to downloading files and accessing data, according to’s Mark Smith. Again, this is thanks to the differing technology. The next generation of Verizon phones may speed things up, but you’ll have to wait for that. Which brings us to our next point:

5.      It may be obsolete in a few months. As Bryan Wolfe of App Advice asks, do you really want to buy an iPhone 4 when the launch of iPhone 5 is just down the road?

On the plus side, the Verizon iPhone 4 comes with hotspot technology, which lets you convert your phone into a mobile WiFi device and connect as many as five devices at once to the web. Plus, Verizon is—for the moment, at least—offering good sign-up deals: An unlimited data plan costs just $30 a month as compared to $5 with AT&T. And there’s that much-vaunted better service, of course, which, if you live where there’s spotty or no coverage, is a big consideration. If you do decide to take the leap, here’s how to do it

1. Don’t disconnect your service yourself. Do so and you risk losing your current number. “Instead, walk into any retail store with your current phone in hand and sign up for a new contract. Verizon reps will do all the heavy lifting for you, essentially canceling your contract on your behalf,” writes Cnet’s Jessica Dolcourt.

2. Consider selling or trading in your old phone. If you own an iPhone 4, there are various ways to recoup some of the money you shelled out for it. Among the places to sell it are places to sell it are the usual suspects—craigslist and e-bay—as well as electronics traders such as Gazelle, which, if you log onto their site and answer a few questions can appraise your current model. According to ABC News, a perfect-condition iPhone 4 currently sells there for $360. If you opt for eBay, you can up the value by doing what’s known as “jailbreaking” and unlocking the phone. For more information, go to Lifehacker. You can also sometimes get trade-in credit for your iPhone at retailers like Target and Radio Shack. Whether you sell your phone or trade it in, you’ll want to wipe it clean of all your personal content (select Settings, General, Reset and Erase Content and Settings).

3. Be patient. In order to port you number to your new phone, you will need to wait anywhere from 3 hours to up to four days, says Dolcourt.

4. Don’t buy a case for it. At least not until you have the phone. The Verizon iPhone’s antenna is in a slightly different spot, so cases designed for the AT&T model won’t fit.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest