If you have an interest in tech, or even if you don’t, you might have heard earlier this month that the Apple iPhone will be available through Verizon in February. This is very exciting news to many loyal Verizon customers who want to get an iPhone but also want to stay with Verizon. Some AT&T customers are also excited about the iPhone coming to Verizon and are planning to switch carriers in the hopes of getting better cell phone service in their area while some other AT&T customers are rooting for lots of people to switch to Verizon to lighten the iPhone load on AT&T’s network.
As a bit of background, when you sign an agreement for cell phone service with most major US carriers, the contract is for two years and when you sign the contract you are given the opportunity to buy a cell phone at a discount off of the retail price. It’s sort of like you are financing the phone, though that analogy doesn’t really work because at the end of the contract the price of your cell phone service isn’t lowered even though you have paid off the cost of the phone. Also, if you already have a phone, generally you won’t get a discount off of a new plan, so it makes sense to buy a new cell phone when you sign a new contract. For example, the price of an iPhone 4 if you sign a new contract with Verizon will be $199 for the 16gb model and $299 for the 32gb model, much less expensive than the full retail price of $599 for 16gb and $699 for 32gb.
Why You Should Wait
Although it has been a very long wait, I suggest waiting just a little bit longer. “Why?” you may ask. “I’ve been waiting for almost 4 years. This is my dream come true! Why do you want me to give up on my dream?” Well, I don’t want you to give up on your dream, but I am suggesting you to wait until June to fulfill that dream.
First, the iPhone that Verizon will be selling beginning in February is the iPhone 4 which was first sold last June. Each year since the iPhone was first introduced in 2007, Apple has begun selling the new iPhone in the month of June. When a new model is launched, Apple significantly discounts the previous model. So whether you want to have the latest and greatest model of the iPhone or you want to save money on the iPhone 4, June is a much better month to make your switch to the Verizon iPhone.
Kent German of CNET, a major tech website, stated yesterday that he doesn’t think Verizon will be getting an iPhone 5 in June. Link: CNET On Call. I respectfully disagree because if AT&T were selling the iPhone 5 in June but Verizon were not, Verizon customers would be the equivalent of second class citizens to Apple. Also, Verizon would have a very hard time selling iPhone 4 models after iPhone 5 models were available from AT&T.
Second, no one knows how well Verizon’s network will hold up to a huge number of new iPhone customers. Verizon has said they can handle the added traffic on their network, but only time will tell if this is true.
Third, if you are already an iPhone owner on AT&T, your contract may be up in June, meaning you would not have to pay an early termination penalty to switch to the Verizon iPhone. Make sure you find out when your contract with AT&T is over before switching to Verizon because early termination penalties can be expensive.
Fourth, if you make the switch in June, you will be on the new release schedule aligning with Apple’s consistent record of introducing new iPhones in June. As most cell phone contracts in the US are two years long, you are committing to both the phone and the service for quite a while.
Why You Should Switch in February
“But I just can’t wait,” you reply. “I want a Verizon iPhone and I want it now!” True, maybe you can’t or shouldn’t wait until June. Perhaps your current phone is damaged or lost, or you keep dropping AT&T calls from your boss who is threatening to find someone with a Verizon phone to take your job. Or maybe you have oodles of money and don’t mind paying full price for the iPhone 5 in June. Maybe you really don’t care about having the latest model of the iPhone as long as you can get your hands on a Verizon iPhone, the sooner the better.
If any or all of those reasons apply to you, then go ahead and get the Verizon iPhone in February. The good news is that iPhones tend to retain their value so if you get a Verizon iPhone in February and then decide you really want the iPhone 5 in June, you could re-sell your Verizon iPhone 4 on eBay or Craig’s List or to a dear friend to help pay for your new toy. Bids for iPhone 4 models on eBay are very close to full retail price, so if you planned to sell your Verizon iPhone 4 in June to help pay for an iPhone 5, chances are you wouldn’t lose all of your money on the deal.
What to Do?
Unless you feel you have to switch to a Verizon iPhone in February, you should try to wait until June. Believe me, I know what it’s like to crave tech, but frequently there are good reasons to wait on a purchase. And this is one of those times.
What are you going to do? Are you getting the iPhone on Verizon? Are you sticking with AT&T? Are you sticking with the phone you have now and waiting to see what else comes along? If you decide to go ahead and get your Verizon iPhone in February, please post a comment to let us know how you like it! And check back for my upcoming blog post on the difference between having an iPhone on Verizon versus on AT&T.