Is It Time To Move From Verizon To AT&T?

Originally printed 10-5-18, updated 3-28-19 with maps of my piss-poor Verizon Wireless Coverage

Let's make one thing clear, I have been a loyal Verizon customer since my first cell phone. I'll leave it at that for you to ponder how long I've been faithful to this service provider.


Back in the day, whenever I went places and others had issues with their non-Verizon phones, I'd be the go-to guy to get things done, whether it be overloaded networks like at San Diego Comic-Con or up in the woods where no one else had coverage, Verizon had it covered.

But those were the days, the days when Verizon ads said they had the best coverage, and they were right. But in the modern era it seems that everyone is catching up and even surpassing Verizon's coverage, at least for me, and Verizon's reputation seems to be leaning more towards lingering impressions than actual performance. Even now their ads are worded slightly different to imply what you might remember, but could be construed differently.

Here are my experiences:

1) I ride the San Francisco Bay Area's Caltrain commuter service for my daily commute and there are too many spots where my Verizon coverage drops out for several minutes at a time. I love connectivity and I have a 90 minute train ride and I experience four big black out zones where I'm left to stare at spinning icons on my laptop or phone app/games.

Red Squiggles and hatched out sections are Verizon Dead Zones in Menlo Park, CA

The next segment of my Caltrain ride, where I have no Verizon Coverage

No Verizon coverage out towards and around Sunnyvale, CA

When I once queried a Verizon rep about this the reply more or less was that "these are just dead zones they can't fill due to tower limitations." Yet one of those dead zones is just outside of Palo Alto, the home of Stanford University. When you get on that train going south, bam, dead for quite a few miles.

Other Verizon users have told me that there are quite a few dead zones north of Menlo Park towards San Francisco too, but I can't attest to that personally.

Oh, BTW, folks with AT and T or Sprint service seem to have no issues in my dead zones. NONE!

2) I carpool to the train station for my commute, and on that commute, I go over a short mountain road called Pacheco Pass. A pass where I pretty much write off most web interaction and even phone calls in spots.

Except... my carpool passenger can stream YouTube videos or hold calls for almost the entire trip.

He has AT&T.

3) Menlo Park, CA: I find myself playing a GPS based augmented reality online game on my phone but the moment I go in Burgess Park, there are sections where I have no hope of starting an app that requires internet connection. And when I do get a connection it's barely 1, maybe 2 bars if I'm lucky. Bottom line is that my connection from my location is sketchy at best.

Other Verizon users that play the game I play don't even bother in most parts of Burgess Park due to our crap coverage.

Meanwhile, my friends with AT&T & Sprint services seem to power on through with excellent reception.


My favorite condition is when your coverage drops to 3G... as if I will still have connectivity I've come to see the 3G reception indicator as code for "You are f!!!d! Go take a nap."

Any how... it's a bit sad because I enjoy being loyal but enough is enough. All too often in my life I am struggling with coverage issues when others seem to not.  When I look up coverage maps, it seven seems evident that even though Verizon covers critical population corridors, the coverage might be dense on major roads or such, but thins out the farther you get away from them, while other providers seem to have a more consistent signal.

Combined with a recent consumer experience where I got a HotSpot Puck replaced because mine was faulty, and they locked my into a new two-year contract during that repair, well, I've been leaning more and more away from what has been my once favored wireless provider.

It won't take much... my Samsung S6 is still plugging along but the day will come when I need to upgrade soon, and I'm thinking AT&T may get my vote this time around.

We'll see.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -