Today’s iPhone 4S launch, while bringing a consolidated single phone to three US carriers, also presents some complexities. Some observations:
Probably obvious to some: The 14.4 speed increase is only on AT&T where that speed is actually available. Verizon and Sprint will continue to be at their same 3G speeds. They will also continue to have other CDMA limitations like being cut off of data when talking.
If you buy a Verizon iPhone 4S, you may not be able to head across the street to Sprint with your phone. And vice versa. Phone companies lock their devices so that you can’t move carriers as easy and it appears at first glance that the iPhone 4S won’t be an exception.
IF you have a Verizon or Sprint iPhone 4S, you likely will still be able to stick an international SIM card in your phone while travelling. However, will AT&T work in a VZ or Sprint iPhone? Unlikely.
Sprint is also getting the iPhone 4 but AT&T still has an exclusive on the iPhone 3GS in the US. If you factor in the costs of owning a phone for two years, the $100-200 saved up front is a drop in the bucket.
Sprint is the only US carrier offering truly unlimited data plans. From personal experience, Sprint offers great data connectivity, especially in big cities. It will be interesting to see how that network holds up as 30 million iPhones get onto Sprint’s network over the next four years.