Spark Capital VC Bijan Sabet dumped his Verizon iPhone and went back to AT&T.
To a casual observer, this may sound crazy. Wasn’t AT&T ruining the iPhone? Wasn’t Verizon supposed to rescue it?
The truth is that each carrier has its limitations. In a blog post, Sabet explains why he went back to AT&T:
- “The inability to use data while on a call is frustrating. I tether my MacBook air to my phone and so this limitation sucks. Or when I’m talking to [my wife] Lauren and we are trying to choose a restaurant. Or talking about a business deal and I can’t talk and review a document that the sender wants me to review.”
- “Verizon may have a better voice network but I felt the speed difference on the data side. 3G on Verizon is much slower than AT&T. And I often saw my Verizon phone in 2G mode.”
- No real international roaming. “I get out of the United States a few times a year. In that scenario, the Verizon iPhone turns into an iPod touch. Not what I need.” (In a previous post earlier this year, Sabet had said that with wifi in more places, and Skype for iPhone, he thought he could manage. But speaking from our experience, there’s a big difference between roaming that’s always on, and wifi hotspots which can be hard to fine and increasingly require a login, password, and fee. This is something Apple can address in the future with a hybrid CDMA-GSM iPhone.)
- “And lastly the Verizon iPhone felt like prison. I like the ability to move my SIM card to different handsets and try new devices. Last week i was at dinner with Peter Rojas and he showed me the new GSM Motorola Android phone. I can’t just pick up that phone and give it a try with Verizon. I’m locked in tight.”
Now, you could argue that these are power-user problems, which most people won’t have to deal with, or won’t even think about. Verizon’s 90+ million customers have had to live with these limitations forever.
And, Sabet lives in Boston — not New York or San Francisco, where AT&T service is perceived as being the worst. (Though he travels to both on business regularly.)
So we’ll stop short of saying that this will become a trend. But it is interesting to see a power user like Sabet dump AT&T and return.
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