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iPhone 5: Should You Go With AT&T, Verizon Or Sprint?

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It’s today! Well, later today, anyway. The big iPhone 5 release! Every new iPhone unveiling sees a spike in the number of orders, so this one should be the biggest of all. This next iPhone 5 is expected to be sold on all three major US networks alongside a couple of smaller ones, but which is offering the best deal? Let’s check them out.

AT&T, Sprint Or Verizon iPhone 5: How to pick

You have to take the initial cost into account first. The 16GB iPhone 5 is thought to be going for $199 with a two-year tie-in. If you’re going prepaid, you’ll have to cough up a bit more. Cricket is offering the 16GB 4S for $500, and Virgin for $650. You do get cheaper voice, text and data plans, though, so you can make up the difference in 12 months or so. But you need to have that large investment out of the way first.

You also need to think about call quality – it seems hard to imagine, but some people do actually use their iPhone to make phone calls and the iPhone 5 won’t be any different! To check how well represented your network is in your neighborhood, enter your zip code into the checker on the carrier’s website. Every network has dropouts and blackspots, but some more than others – AT&T are well-known for this.

Network speed also has to be looked at – the iPhone 5 is thought to have 4G LTE support, and Verizon says it has the biggest network while AT&T claims that its is the fastest. Sprint has 4G and unlimited data plans. Where you live is an important factor, as 4G isn’t quite everywhere yet. Verizon is leading the pack with 4G, Sprint is just starting out and AT&T is fair-to-middling.

You have to think about your data plan – 4G is so fast that you can zip through your allowance without thinking about it – until you get your bill, that is. AT&T and Verizon offer shared data plans, whereas Cricket, Virgin and Sprint offer all-you-can-eat data for your iPhone 5. You won’t go over any limit with the last three, but you will have slower data.

If you’ve got some time to run on your existing contract but are desperate for the iPhone 5, you’ll need to work out how much it’ll cost to end you tie-in early. You may have to shell out as much as $350 depending on network and time left. If you’ve got a decent, not-too-old phone, though, you could sell or part exchange it to recoup some of the expense.

Dwayne is a jack of all trades. Not only is he an executive editor and collaborates on many stories here at Autoomobile, but he also does artwork and handles the running of the website on a daily basis. We’re not sure what we would do without Dwayne, especially on those days when we have a great scoop and our servers can’t handle the influx of traffic.