First, let me say that I am glad that I am not paying for my Verizon Wireless. For personal cellphone usage I have T-Mobile. But, like most workers out there in America, during the day I am tied down to work with my cellphone and the service that my company chose was Verizon Wireless. I will explain why I am glad that I am not paying for my Verizon Wireless in my review.
Let me just first say that the way that Verizon Wireless (for the rest of the review known as Verizon) displays their service plans is the most convoluted I have ever seen done on a website. Trying to pick a plan from their website is a bewildering experience when compared to better laid out sites like T-Mobile, SprintPCS and Cingular. A user-interface person should go through the whole table layout mess and make it a bit easier to comprehend and use. But, lets not digress.
Verizon is one of the most expensive providers around when compared apples-to-apples with others. Since I have T-Mobile, I will compare Verizon to T-Mobile. The most popular T-Mobile plan is the Get More Plan which for $39.99 a month gets me 600 Anytime Minutes and Unlimited Nights and Weekends. It also gets me free long distance and free nationwide roaming. Granted T-Mobile's coverage is not as expansive as Verizon's. Verizon phones can also roam on analog networks and this expands their network greatly. The price that Verizon wants for the same level of service as the T-Mobile plan is $49.99 a month (and that is with only 500 Anytime Minutes, not 600 Anytime Minutes). To roam off Verizon's network (say you do want to take advantage of that extra coverage) will cost an additional 69 cents a minute. If I wanted the detailed billing that T-Mobile offers me, I have to pay an additional $1.99 a month to get that.
To add cost on top of all this is that, not only do I have to sign a one or two year contract with Verizon, but the contract does not offer up any free phones! Whereas with T-Mobile a contract will get you a choice of at least two (and sometimes three) free phones. So now you can see why I am glad that I am not paying for my Verizon service. This thing could get pretty expensive if you start to add things up. And when there are clear alternatives to the service at drastically lower prices why would a regular consumer pick Verizon?
To try to be fair, I also tried to price a Local plan (just service within one's own local area) that is close to the T-Mobile plan that I have which is $29.99 per month for 300 Anytime Minutes, Unlimited Weekends, free long distance and free roaming on their GSM network. I came up with $29.99 per month for 300 Anytime Minutes and 1000 Nights and Weekends minutes. The cheapest phone is $79.99 with a one year contract (or $69.99 with a two year contract). To get the extra services that I have, I have to add (per month) $1.99 for detailed billing, $5.00 for long distance and there is no extra additions for roaming unless I want to pay 69 cents a minute.
But, the expense of the service does get me good coverage. I have a customer in Arkansas and I get good coverage out there when I have to travel out there to the middle of nowhere. It is through roaming though. There is no GSM coverage out in Arkansas right now, so my T-Mobile phone would not work out there. Here at home in San Jose and Milpitas I get good coverage. My house is a test bed for all cellphones because it is like a cellphone isolation chamber. The Audiovox CDM9500 (ugly phone with terrible battery life) gets pretty good reception in the house, a little better than my Samsung SGH-R225m on T-Mobile. This can be attributed to the fact that Verizon is all 800MHz CDMA which has better penetration into buildings than 1900MHz GSM does.
At work in San Jose, CA there is good coverage. In the Great Mall I get decent coverage. I have used the phone in DFW and I get good coverage there also. San Jose International has good coverage for the phone also. In general, the coverage for Verizon is good. I know of one dead spot where my phone will lose its signal no matter what. The dead spot is on Tasman/Great Mall Parkway, on the bridge that goes over 880. No matter what, I always get my call dropped there. Not so with T-Mobile, nor MetroPCS nor SprintPCS. It is just one of those spots, I guess.
If you look at the Verizon coverage map (again, very hard to find on their site) you will see that the extra money that you are paying is for the extra coverage that they have when compared to GSM providers like T-Mobile and Cingular. But, unless you are a business traveler with a busy travel schedule, that kind of coverage is not necessary for you. What is important for you is if there is good coverage for your local area and maybe places that you will be visiting for vacation. Decide for yourself if that kind of coverage is needed and if it is not, if the extra money is worth paying out.
Because this is a company phone, I have yet to call Verizon customer service. From the surveys that I have seen on the Internet though, the customer service for Verizon is top-rated. Your mileage may vary on this since I do not have actual experience to back these claims up.
Verizon is the perfect service for those who do not have to pay for the service like corporate users. And the coverage that it offers backs up the fact that the prices are so high when compared to Verizon's competitors. If you are a corporate user, then most likely you will not have a choice what service you get. If you get Verizon, you will most likely be happy because Verizon offers up such good coverage.
If you are a regular consumer looking for cellular service, it would probably serve you best to look elsewhere. Verizon service is way too expensive for what you get. The extra coverage that it allows really does not justify the cost when most consumers are using their phones around town or occasionally on vacations. The additional costs associated with Verizon's extra services are also annoying since they are free with most other service providers.
Whether or not Verizon is good for you depends on these questions: 1) Do you travel a lot outside of major metropolitan area and need your phone while on travel? 2) Do you have cash to burn if you answered no to the first question? For me, if I were to be getting a cellphone for personal use, I would not get Verizon. There are clear alternatives to this expensive service. Because I have no choice what cellular service I get at work and I really do not care because I am not paying for it, Verizon serves me well. As a work/travel phone it does well.
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Amount Paid (US$): 69.99