I’ve been a Verizon wireless customer for… A long time. I think it was around 2005 that I switched from my old Nextel service to Verizon. It was right after Sprint bought Nextel. At the time, My wife and I had switched between all of the major carriers that offered service in our area in search of one we liked. ATT was crap in our area, Nextel had good service, but they tacked all manner of hidden costs on to the bill every month. Verizon worked out perfect. Other than taxes, we paid what was advertised, and the service worked when we needed it. Unlike ATT.
In short, I was a happy Verizon Wireless customer, and remained that way for several years. I had my complaints, but I still had the best, I thought, on the market at the time. It’s been a long time since then, 7 years. In today’s market, I’d say that qualifies me as a loyal customer. We now have telephone, and internet through Verizon as well.
SmartPhones, The downfall
In 2009, I bought my first smart phone. A BlackBerry Storm. I won’t go into how much of a mistake that was, but I’ll say that I couldn’t wait for my new-every-2 credit to get an Android device. I bought the Droid Incredible, and loved it. This started my foray into Android. I am now a loyal android user. I’ve owned 3 android smart phones, and android tablet, and an android mini-pc which I can connect to a TV. My wife even uses android now, she’s owned three android phones, and a little handheld device.
Android should save me, right?
I feel that android is the best smartphone and handheld device OS on the market. Disagree if you like. That’s not the point of this blog post. Android however, is relevant to the content here.
So, After some time with the Incredible, I rooted it, and tried out a few roms. I ended up on CyanogenMod 7. Then I found out what I was missing, and this lead me to questioning why. Why is it that android itself is so open and capable, but android, as it came on my Droid Incredible, was so gimped and uncapable? It worked fine as a phone, and all the apps on the market worked, sure, but I found out that capabilities that are built into android, from google, were actually STRIPPED OUT. Why? Seemed like my carrier had deemed it so, and so HTC stripped it out before building the phone. What The Hell?!
So, it came time to upgrade again, I did some searching, and decided on the Motorola Droid 4. Why? I have no idea, but I did. The Galaxy Nexus was due out soon, the first Nexus device to hit Verizon. But i thought it was too big, and bought the D4 instead. I regretted it almost immediately. The phone was Ok, but, like the Incredible, a lot of functionality was missing! And lets not forget that Android 4.0 was available BEFORE the D4 was released, and it still shipped with 2.3 instead. If that’s not enough, It’s been almost a year since that phone released, and Motorola STILL hasn’t released their 4.0 update. Mind you, at this point 4.2.1 is available. Meanwhile, unlocked Galaxy Nexus owners are getting updates straight from Google at a pretty rapid pace. So, I ended up falling into a Galaxy Nexus on verizon for cheap. I thought this would be the end of my android software woes.
Nexus on Verizon, I’m Saved!
I was wrong. This phone is just barely a Nexus. It’s called a nexus, it’s better than any of the other Verizon android offerings, but it’s still hung up on the Verizon software release cycle. Unlocked GNex users are on Android 4.2.1, and I’m still at 4.1.0. On top of that, we recently implemented VoIP at work, which allows me to connect right to our SIP service right from the Android Dialer (one of those features that other android phones have stripped out). Great right? I can use VoIP without adding in bloated battery-sucking app’s to make it work? Nice!
No SIP for you!
Verizon blocks this. Yes, that’s right, if you’re connected to Verizon’s data network, you CANNOT USE SIP. Why? I’m sure there’s lots of reasons, and it’s impossible that any of them have anything to do with profit margins.
Unlimited data, NO MORE!
I’ve had unlimited data since I bought my BB Storm. I like it this way. I use my data, a lot, and sometimes I pass the 2gb mark. Last year Verizon took away their unlimited plans, but grandfathered me. Now this year they’ve added a new stipulation, if I take my new-every-2 credit, i get forced into a 2gb plan, for the SAME PRICE I’m currently paying for unlimited. Guess I cant upgrade anymore. My wife has already been forced into a 2gb plan after her latest upgrade, but its not as big a deal for her. She doesn’t use data like I do.
Software, The last straw
EVERY phone on verizon’s network falls prey to this. Every software update that comes to a Verizon phone gets held up in some sort of delay. I have no idea why, is it verizon? Is it the manufacturers? No idea. All I know for sure is, Android on Verizon is always lagging behind, and always missing the newest features. Is it quality control? I doubt it. My stock verizon phones seems to have more bugs and glitches than the Cyanogen roms I run.
After all of this, I think my decision is clear. The next time I’m due for an upgrade, if Verizon is going to force me into a 2gb data plan anyway (the final reason I’ve been staying with Verizon), I think I’ll instead be taking my business to AT&T, and buying an Unlocked Nexus 4 directly from Google, instead of dealing with the Carrier BS.
So long Verizon, and thanks for all the headaches.