Verizon: To Switch or Not to Switch

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When last you heard from me on the subject of Verizon Wireless, I was not a happy camper. I was, in fact, actively looking forward to ditching Verizon and returning like the prodigal son [1] to the arms of my old carrier, AT&T Wireless – now Cingular. Among the reasons for contemplating such a move were, in no particular order:

  • A requirement that I wait one year to add international calling (or give them a $500 deposit – absurd)
  • Terrible phone selection – particularly of my favorite brand, Nokia
  • The fact that Verizon intentionally cripples their phones Bluetooth capabilities, thus preventing me from doing anything remotely interesting with GNOME Bluetooth

The bad news is that I find myself two days away from being out from my Verizon contract, and I’m seriously underwhelmed by Cingular’s current crop of phones (yes, I’m aware that Scoble’s got a new phone over there, but a Windows SmartPhone’s not going to do much for me as I’m on Linux). Throw in the fact that their network is either not good or non-existent in two areas I frequent – the Colorado mountains and the Bay Area – and their lack of a credible 3G offering (UMTS is sweet, but months or years away from being relatively pervasive), and I’m sad to say that sticking with Verizon seems like it may happen.

I’m going to hold out another month or two to see if either of the carriers announces plans for a phone that is:

  1. In a form factor I find compelling (candybar, preferably – about the size of the Nokia 6230)
  2. Usable as a modem (preferably at EV-DO/UMTS speeds – EDGE at a minimum)
  3. Is reasonably performant (screen, battery life, etc)

Before some of you suggest Treo’s or the new Blackberry’s, let me save you the time: not only are they too large for me, I actively do not want an email ready device. Work sucks up enough of my time, I don’t need to make it worse.

If I don’t see anything on the horizon within that timeframe, I’ll probably end up sticking with Verizon. Never would have guessed it.

[1] If you haven’t listened to the Stones track of that name, I suggest it. One of my favorites.


  1. At least if you buy a new phone on Verizon you can avoid being locked in to a contract. I’m pretty happy with my Sprint set-up (EVDO modem), but I think I remember you having problems with their coverage.

  2. I don’t have any problems with Cingular in the Bay Area but you are right about the lack of 3G handsets so far. If you don’t like Cingular’s current phone selection you can always get one of their free phones and purchase an unlocked GSM phone elsewhere that has the form and features you want.

    Check out http://www.howardforums.com/ if you haven’t already for more info.


  3. You can’t always get what you want [2].

    [2] Another Stones track. Check out the version on the Let it Bleed album.

    cheers, Richard

  4. Alex: exactly – i'd be a relative free agent, which is attractive. as for Sprint, yeah, i've had terrible experiences with their coverage but am willing to reconsider.

    John: thx for the tip on HOFO – i've been using it for a couple of years, and it is an outstanding phone oriented community.

    Richard: will do – thx for the tip 😉

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