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iPhone 5: Which Carrier To Go With? [Verizon, AT&T, Sprint]

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The iPhone 5 is available from all major US carriers, so customers will have to decide who to go with; so which carrier has the best deal going?

iPhone 5: Best carrier (AT&T, Verizon or Sprint)

One of the biggest factors is the cost of the handset. The 16GB iPhone 5 is $199 with a two-year tie-in, but if you want an unlocked one, you’ll pay top whack. You need also to think about plans and extras if you go for unlocked.

Network speed is also important. The iPhone 5 has 4G LTE support, and AT&T claim that it’s the fastest. AT&T’s coverage is nowhere near Verizon’s though. Sprint is way behind and anyone wanting an iPhone 5 on Sprint can forget about LTE for now. Sprint does, however, offer unlimited data plans. Check to see if your area has LTE or 3G before choosing your carrier.

You also need to look at data allocations and prices. 4G will have you zipping through your iPhone 5 allowance in no time. AT&T and Verizon offer shared data. Sprint, as well as Virgin and Cricket, have unlimited plans. You’ll not get a nasty surprise with your monthly bill with the latter, but you’ll be on slower speeds.

Call quality is vital, and you can check this on the network’s website. There will always be dropouts and glitches – AT&T is notorious for this, but they have pulled their socks up since their heyday of iPhone exclusivity.

There’s also the potential buy-out fee if you want to escape an existing contract early in order to bag an iPhone 5. This may be as high as $350 in some cases. You can, however, sell your old iPhone to recoup some of the cost. So before you pick a carrier, make sure it won’t cost you a bomb to switch from your existing one.

To sum up: If you’re after 4G LTE speeds you need AT&T or Verizon. If you want unlimited data you need Sprint. If you want an off-contract phone, T-Mobile is a good idea as their unlimited data plans are cheaper than Sprint’s. Further to this, the Verizon iPhone 5 is unlocked and supports GSM networks, so if you travel a lot, this may be the option for you.

Cecelia has the patience of a praying mantis. She spends the day sifting through press releases from all the major brand’s PR reps. From the most ridiculous announcements to those you really want to know more about, Cecelia makes it a point to skim through as many daily as possible so you won’t have to.