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Sprint vs. Verizon

Updated on March 13, 2013

I have been the administrator for over 600 devices in a fairly large school district outside of Phoenix Arizona for a little over four years now. The observations in this article are portrayed from my individual perspective and are not intended to provide negative or biased information toward either communications giant. This is merely my own opinion on how I have seen a difference between the two. Your mileage may vary.

Available Devices

I have always seen Sprint as one of the leaders in the area of smartphone providers. Now you may be thinking, “what about the iPhone”. I am hesitant to remark on that particular device because it has not been available for any other carrier other than AT&T long enough to get a fully objective viewpoint.

Sprint has maintained its “Evo” line of phones with the introduction of the HTC Evo 4g. In my mind, this was one of the best phones to hit the market. Three years and roughly 36 roms later I still use this as my personal device. It has since been superseded by multiple different flavors of Evo’s none really living up to the standard of the original Evo. The Evo LTE is a different story and we will get to that soon.

Verizon has had a very good run of devices following the Droid line and is currently one of the major players. Historically however, they have been known to cripple their line of phones by removing features or limiting the hardware. It appears that this practice has since been halted and the current featured device, the Droid Razr Maxx HD is quite the phone indeed. The HD boasts the largest battery installed stock into a device at 3300mAh that I have seen and through use I average at least a day and a half of full use. Routinely this device gains me almost 3 days before needing a charge.

Both carriers are slated to receive the anticipated HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S IV, slimming the margin between both carriers. Advantage: Tie

Signal Quality

Sprint may have spearheaded the 4G movement but they still have a lot to learn from their competitors. I have had my personal phone with Sprint for almost 10 years now. I have learned a few things in that time. While your cell quality is almost perfect with very few to no dropped calls, your data rates will suffer. Sprint has begun rolling out its nationwide 4G coverage but is still very limited compared to its competitors. I am very lucky if I breach 1Mb down when I am surfing and more often than not am hunting for a WiFi source. The Evo 4g LTE has surfaced and while it is a nod to the original Evo in its styling cues and has a much needed upgrade in hardware, still does not have a respectable 4G network to surf. This will change in time but how long will Sprints subscribers be willing to wait before finding greener pastures.

Verizon played the 4G game well. Like all it was slow to build up, but when it started it did not stop. They have arguably the larges 4G coverage in the country. Our company has since switched from Sprint to Verizon with one the largest factors being coverage. It simply cannot be beat. I have not found an area where at the very least I have not had 3G coverage. I am not really phased by that having no other choice with my personal Sprint phone. I have been using Verizon on my corporate device now for a few months and have been nothing but pleased.

Both carriers have a 4G option available, however Verizon is easily beating Sprint for the moment. Sprint is still issuing more LTE towers into the world so this gap may close in the future. Advantage: Verizon

Push-to-Talk

This may be a gray area for most but is the deciding factor for our corporation. Sprint has recently disbanded the Nextel division and will be shutting down the towers in June 2013. This means that any iDen device will no longer work and Sprint has already stopped supporting them in favor of their CDMA option. Quite simply this is does not work. Sprints CDMA coverage is relatively fine but not built well enough to handle the rigors of PTT. During testing we found that many of the dead spots we had in the valley, especially in buildings, simply did not work with Sprints option. This was a safety concern and ultimately led to Sprints departure in our district.

Verizon stepped in with their alternative to Sprint/Nextel. They have their own devices that are PTT enabled running on their CDMA backbone. Because Verizon has dominated the coverage in the valley, we no longer experience any dead spots during travel. We had entire buildings that were “no fly” zones that are now accessible without any signal repeaters. I am in the process now of rolling out the new PTT devices and have heard nothing but happiness from my users.

Both companies offer a PTT solution, however, with Sprint racing to complete their LTE rollout they are losing previous loyal Nextel customers. Advantage: Verizon

Cost

Ultimately this may be the most important area. Both providers have pay as you go options as low as $30-40 per month. I will focus on the mainline area where most of the customers lie, the monthly subscription plans.

I have continued and endured with Sprint primarily because of cost savings. For an individual who would like unlimited text and data you can choose a plan for $79.99. This includes 450 voice minutes to use but in this day and age the art of actual voice communications is slowly becoming extinct. This data is unlimited and will not be throttled down after a certain ceiling. The caveat to this is Sprints terrible data infrastructure. Until Sprint is fully opened with LTE, they will fall behind. 5G may become available before this happens so it is a tradeoff.

An individual plan with unlimited data with Verizon will run you close to $100 monthly. This breaks down to $40 for the device itself and $60 for unlimited talk and text with 2GB of data. For those of us who use more than 2GB of data will need to upgrade or suffer the $15 for an extra GB overage rate.

This may not seem like much of a difference but if you are a power user, you may feel the burn springing for an extra portion of data. Sprint may not have the LTE backbone everywhere, but they should be keeping the unlimited data option after they do. Advantage: Sprint

Conclusion

With both companies sporting 4G LTE and a bevy of the finest devices possible it may be hard to choose a provider to fit your needs. Our district chose Verizon because of the network coverage for our PTT devices in comparison. Price was negligible because with a corporate account they came in around the same price. For an individual the choice is not so clear. I have been a loyal Sprint customer for almost 10 years on my personal device and it is unlikely that I will make the switch. Most everywhere I go I have a WiFi connection available and if I do not, I make do with the 3G. Yeah it is slow but it works for what I need it to at the time. The cost savings is nice, but ultimately it does what I need it to do. Have I been tempted to run to greener pastures? Absolutely! Will I venture to make the trip? Probably not. That may change after seeing more information roll out about Sprints LTE availability, especially since it is not slated to reach the Phoenix valley until late 2013-early 2014 but I am hopeful.

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    • Stromboli profile image
      Author

      James Ehrenstrom 4 years ago from Surprise, AZ

      "Fresh" (two months ago) from the fine newsroom over at big yellow, looks like variants of Windows Phone 8 from Samsung and HTC:

      http://newsroom.sprint.com/article_display.cfm?art...

      Cant argue about the other points though. :)

    • atechwiz profile image

      atechwiz 4 years ago

      My friend, you clearly missed the deciding factor for me when it comes to service providers. At this time Sprint does not offer a Windows Phone 8 option and that is simply unacceptable. How can they not offer a device with the best mobile operating system available? The other 3 communication giants have WP8. That and the fact that Sprint does not currently have 4G in Phoenix is the last straw. I am going to be switching to Verizon when my contract is up in one month. Will I miss the savings? Absolutely. Will I miss the horrible dead zones and overall poor data connections? Absolutely not.