7 Reasons to Stick with the AT&T iPhone

We're fast approaching the day when the Verizon iPhone goes on sale, and many people – especially AT&T customers – are wondering if it's worth it. While every situation is unique, here are a few reasons why you might want to stick with AT&T.

AT&T is faster           

It's an accepted fact that AT&T drops more calls and has worse reception than the Verizon network. But despite Verizon's robust coverage, it's not as fast as AT&T. While a good connection is usually more important than a fast connection, if you want significantly higher download and upload speeds (advantage varies by area), then stick with AT&T.

Early termination fee

The dreaded ETF. Carriers are raising them in an effort to discourage people from switching networks. Unless your contract is only a few months from expiring, the ETF can be more expensive than the Verizon iPhone (on contract).

Simultaneous talk and data

One of the advantages AT&T touts the most is the ability to talk and surf the Web at the same time on AT&T phones, including the iPhone. The Verizon iPhone won't be able to do this (because of the network, not the phone). While the average person hardly uses this feature, if it's important to you, don't get rid of the AT&T iPhone.

Cheaper data plan

This point only applies to a very specific group of iPhone users: the ones who hardly use any data. The average iPhone user, between Web browsing, e-mail attachments, photo uploads, video or music streaming and social networking, uses a lot of data. But if you are one of the people who only gets a few e-mails every day and uses the phone for Google Maps and checking movie listings every once in a while, AT&T might be a way to save money. Verizon only has one data option: $30 per month for unlimited data. AT&T, on the other hand, has a $15 per month for 200 MB data plan. Again, the average person would blow through 200 MB in a matter of days, but if you are sparing with your data usage, it's better than paying $30.

It's the same phone

If you're only interested in the iPhone itself and have a good AT&T connection, there's no point in jumping ship for the Verizon iPhone. Even though the network chipset has changed, very little else has, and the actual Verizon hardware will have no advantage over the current AT&T iPhone 4.

SIM card

This is another feature that will only apply to a very select group of iPhone users, but the Verizon iPhone won't have a SIM card. That means you won’t be able to swap contacts and your account to a new phone with the simple switch of a card. It may sound pedantic, but it's important to some.

The iPhone 5 is coming

Perhaps the biggest reason to sit tight and wait out that AT&T contract is that the iPhone 5 is coming. It will likely launch in June or July 2011, based on Apple's iPhone release track record, and it will have the latest features and possibly (a big maybe here) 4G connectivity. In other words, if you switch to the Verizon iPhone right now, you may feel foolish in a few months when a better iPhone is available. We also have no idea what kind of deals the networks have made with Apple and whether the iPhone 5 will be available on AT&T before Verizon. Unless you're sure you'll really be content with the Verizon iPhone 4, it's smart to have a wait-and-see attitude.