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Hey Verizon, AT&T Announced Two 4G LTE Devices Today – Why Are Yours So Much More Expensive?

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I never like to start off a Monday with this sort of tone, but when AT&T announced its first two 4G LTE handsets this morning at prices far below what Verizon has been sticking us with, it rubbed me the wrong way. There was a time when the argument that “LTE radios were expensive” was semi-acceptable, but no longer is that going to fly now that AT&T and their arguably far superior radios aren’t making their prices skyrocket (see what I did there).  

The HTC Vivid and Galaxy SII Skyrocket are both top-of-the-line phones with their dual-core processors, big beautiful screens, and dual cameras, yet will be available at $199 and $249 respectively. You may remember that the Thunderbolt with its single-core processor and 2010 specs was delivered to us in March 2011 at $249 followed by the Samsung Fascinate DROID Charge at $299. Think about that for a second?

If the price hike to well above $200 was because LTE radios were expensive, then why has AT&T managed to keep theirs down? And remember, AT&T is claiming that they waited to produce LTE phones until they could include radios with “circuit-switch fallback” technology that would allow batteries to last longer than the 4-6 hours that most of us experience on a daily basis. This tech is an all-in-one radio that works far more efficiently (according to AT&T – makes sense though) than Verizon’s dual 3G and 4G radio setup that requires each radio to be powered separately (hence the poor battery life). So not only is AT&T using better tech, but they are keeping prices down while still releasing top of the line smartphones.

“But they are only in 9 LTE markets! 15 by the end of the year!” Which I understand. Verizon had far more markets live when they released their first phone. Could it be that Big Red was trying to offset the cost of their rapid LTE rollout by raising prices of phones? Could very well be. I guess as a consumer, I feel a little robbed by that method, especially when it appears that AT&T will not be going that route. Then again, how long will take for another carrier to cover half of the country with these speeds?

What about the batch of phones we expect to see in the next month, though – the DROID RAZR, Galaxy Nexus and HTC Rezound? All have been pegged at the $299 price point. But remember, that all of these phones (at least to our knowledge), will still run first-gen 4G LTE radios, meaning battery life is still going to be an issue. So we get older and less efficient LTE tech than AT&T is using, yet have to pay higher prices because of a bigger network footprint? Man, that’s rough. I guess the trade-off here is that you actually get to use LTE with your $299 phone, while AT&T users could be waiting a couple of years to ever use theirs.

*Note – A lot of people pointing out (which I also did two paragraphs up) that this is likely all about actually having an LTE network in more than just a handful of markets. I totally get that argument. But at the same time, no one seemed to have that argument when Big Red initially launched with far less markets than they have today, but with 2-3 low-end devices at $200+ prices. We also weren’t sure what was fair pricing though. As some have suggested, maybe we helped decide that “fair” price by purchasing the Charge at $299. I think what will be the thing to watch here, is as AT&T rolls theirs out, if prices from either carrier are adjusted. Also, we know that AT&T’s 3G network is not of the highest quality, but we cannot say the same for their LTE network at this time.

The price we pay to be early adopters and have the best network, I guess. Any thoughts?

  • Mike_Jones

    That is the beauty of the free market.  There is no such thing as something being “too expensive”.  If you don’t like it, don’t buy it or get it from someone else.  Or if you really don’t like the prices people are charging, DONT GET A SMARTPHONE!  we all survived without them until the past couple years!

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    It’s a free market, if people are willing to pay the premium for Verizon’s phones then Verizon can charge it. When they start losing business because similar phones are cheaper on AT&T, they will change their strategy, but with all we pay for calls, texting and data today, the cost of the phone is really a small percent of our mobile access cost, whether it’s $299 or $149…the difference is only $6.25/month over a 24 month contract. 

  • Anonymous
  • Haha I love my 3G still.  I am in the 3G market yet, and I can’t complain with 1.8 MB/sec downloads.  That’s faster than my broadband at 960/1000kb/sec with all the computers and such attached.

  • Justin Kos

    i think ATnT is trying to catch up to verizon

  • Bryan schultze

    I would like to point out also that ATT usually doesn’t give any memory cards with their phones and if they do its only 2 gig. The thunderbolt came with a 32 gb card and so did the charge. The Bionic came with a 16gb card but came with 16gb on board. Even ATT on board memory isn’t as good. There is some of the expense! Oh yea and just like you said, I can use Verizons 4g. Att wont be all up till 2016. Who wouldn’t pay $50 for now and the best reception.

  • AT&T…. $50 bucks…. not worth the risk

  • T0ked

    I paid $150 for my thunderbolt. And the droid charge dropped in price after a month or two. I’m fine with letting the early adopters pay the sky high prices and get all the glitches worked out. prices on VZW phones drop fairly quickly for both new and renewal customers (not the same thing I can say for att customers). I’d rather pay the extra money for service I can use everywhere, even inside my house. In NYC, dead space and poor signal for the other carriers is pretty ridiculous for such a large metropolitan area.

  • CyberDude

     Everything Verizon does is more costly than any other carrier, they have to be making far more $$ than any competitor, but as many have said they can afford to build out a lot faster.   I could easily save $60 to $80 a month if I left VZW and went to Sprint, maybe even more if I went to T-Mobile, and trust me I am considering it, but debating if the loss of a lil coverage is worth saving a grand a year..

     As to the LTE costs being higher, they have to have a CDMA and LTE radio in the phones, as will Sprint, but ATT and Tmo will be able to have integrated GSM/LTE radios as they are based on similar tech.  Should for sure be a cost and compatibility win for ATT and T-mo, if they build a good network..
     

  • tacos

    For folks that keep claiming that Verizon’s implementation is different please read below.

    http://gizmodo.com/5849355/att-says-its-lte-phones-will-be-slim-and-easy-on-the-battery

    Both companies will use almost identical LTE intially.  AT&T claims their switching will be better, however a possible fw update to Verizon LTE handsets may increase battery to same levels claimed by AT&T. AT&T is claiming, but not proven as a fact per who it counts…  that would be us the customers….  AT&T will be a winner if they provide a 20% additional battery life.  Sprint is going down the same road with their LTE.  It will take a few years for LTE to be homogeneous.  However having the ability to fall back to legacy networks is a plus as was the case when Verizon’s LTE network went belly up a month or so back.

  • Anonymous

    Phones are cheap as long as they’re under $1,000. I use these things much more than any electronic computing equipment I own. Worth it.

    • Anonymous

      You’re an idiot.

    • Anonymous

      Following your logic, a bottle of water is cheap as long as it is under $1,000 since it is used more than any other liquid we own.

      • Anonymous

        That’s just a side note. But yes, sometimes I wonder why I spend thousands on entertainment center parts and computers that I use less than an hour a day on most of the time.

        The logic is that top shelf smartphones at all the countries I traveled to and lived in are around a thousand, and people around the world had no problems paying for them. They make less to way less than we do here.

  • Anonymous

    I’m all for lowering the price of 4G phones on Big Red, as I’m sure many of you are also!  Fact of it is, Verizon can charge what they are now and be fine with it bc of their superior network and bc people will pay 299 on upgrade. That is why we have sh*t opinion on the matter. It’s to late now, we’re already here boys.

  • John Crisp

    To be honest, I do not care that the phones are $300. They are worth every cent!!! These phones are fast as it is, but add Verizon’s LTE, and its like getting FiOS Internet at on your phone! Well not the 35up/35down I have at home but its by far the fasted I have used on a phone and its solid!!! Its no longer a bear to upload pics, vids in 1080 from your phone to facebook, this stuff happens in seconds. Music downloads almost as soon as you hit the buy button.. My Bionic amazes me every time I use it!  I go all day on 4G with 3 email accounts, check facebook, look at some vids, phone calls, txts, emails, and whatever else I want and I go all day…Hell, its 8:50pm and I still have 30% battery since it came off the 8am, 12 hours and sill have battery????

    • Justin Kos

      stop thinking like this because its people like you who keep the price at 300, we are the consumer and without us verizon no make money =(

  • Jeffrey Garcia

    I love Verizon, and currently use an AT&T phone. I love it. I pay $50 for a lot of minutes, 2gb of data, and unl. text messages. Everyone complains about bad service, but i get far superior results than my friends that have sprint or verizon. Even though att only has 9 lte markets, they will expand. Their LTE network is much faster than verizons and their phones are really good (and cheap!) I will stick with them getting fantastic coverage and very nice phones.
    Verizon just wanted to be first in the LTE game and therefore their phones have awful battery life and are very expensive. Im glad im with them as they waited for the perfect time to get it right the first time.

  • I’d like to remind that unlike AT&T and all other “regular” LTE carriers, Verizon doesn’t use LTE for voice communications.

    What I mean is, with a GSM carrier you have the old lineup: 2G, 3G, 4G — usually in a standard issue universal transceiver that is backwards compatible with the network. If the network supports LTE, it will use LTE. If it’s UMTS, sure. If it’s just GSM, why not. Downshifting is not an issue for any GSM phone; they switch between 2G/3G/4G seamlessly and without connectivity loss. Moreover, all those — 2G, 3G, and 4G — carry voice and basic text messaging (SMS, not MMS) when we’re talking classic GSM.

    Verizon instead uses a hybrid CDMA+LTE network, that relies on CDMA (non-EV-DO, non-1x) for voice and text message transfer. Only MMS is transferred over LTE, otherwise it’s reserved for mobile data only. Thus, with a VZW phone, both transceivers — which aren’t even using the same technology — have to stay powered on if you want voice and data together. So while a classic GSM/LTE phone on LTE uses LTE only, a VZW LTE phone cannot avoid using CDMA at all — if the user still wants to receive calls and text messages.

    It’s not about “new technologies”, it’s about poor network design.

    Then again, it’s pearls before swine…

  • LTE is GSM.  Verizon has to use TWO radios in their LTE phones, and AT&T can get by with one.  20-25 bucks for added chips.

  • Eric V

    Stop your bitching a complaining you pay more at verizon but get better speeds pay less for AT&T get drop calls, shitty speeds YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. 

  • Steve

    Asking Verizon to lower prices on your Android blog is cute, fun and possibly exciting but will do NOTHING to actually lower prices.  Prices on Verizon top tier Android phones will come down only when market pressures force them downward.  Free markets rule!  If you don’t like the high prices then switch to an inferior network.

  • BroRob

    I know I’m not going to change anyone’s opinion, but here
    is my 2 cents!! I have a TBolt as my personal phone and a Sprint MoPho as my
    work phone. Verizon’s 3G speeds kill Sprint’s 4G (when I can get 4G). I am
    willing to pay the extra $$ for Verizon because of the lack of BETTER options
    out there. You might think a little slower phone is an acceptable alternative until
    you are stuck with it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve switched to my
    personal phone because Sprint was soooo slow!

  • If you live in a good at&t area you have a better fallback (HSPA+) and the at&t lte will be be better at peircing buildings due to the frequencies.

  • Anonymous

    I look at it this way. If they subsizide a phone that costs $215 to make in parts are they REALLY subsidizing that phone at all? I imagine most manufacturers are doing bulk discounts – except Apple. Verizon has really been putting the wood to its’ customers this year.

  • I am curious to see the SpeedTest.net results for ATT’s phones.

  • What happened to $200 being the max regardless of how good the phone was? 

    All kidding aside, I think that the max for the high-end phones that we have now a days should be set at $250. Just look at the the Pantech Breakout, HTC Thunderbolt, LG Revolution, and Samsung Droid Charge. Do you see any major differences in specs. No. They are all 4G LTE, 1 Ghz SINGLE CORE devices yet as of right now all of those phones cost $99, $149, $199, and $199. 

    Verizon finally did something right when they made the Breakout $100. Because how are you really going to charge $200 for a phone with last years specs? (rhetorical question) I still don’t understand why Verizon hasn’t brought down the price for the Charge and the Revolution btw. 

    I just hope that Verizon realizes that they can’t continue selling phones for more just because of 4G because 4G is going to become the norm in about a year or two. 

    Also, $299 for the Bionic, Razr, and Nexus is ridiculous but i still don’t care enough NOT to get the Nexus lol.

    /endrant

    • Anonymous

      Why would a company want to set a max price though? I obviously don’t want to pay more for a phone, but Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc. are not in business to provide us cool phones but rather to MAKE MONEY. Only if WE, the Android-consuming community, refused to buy devices over that price would Verizon choose to implement such a policy.

      As long as we consumers flock in droves to stores and sites to buy up every last Nexus, Rezound, RAZR, Bionic, etc then they can and will charge whatever they want.

  • Mark Christian

    They’re charging $299 because they know people will pay it.  I know, I know… blasphemy, but look at the iPhone, they’ve really set the bar for pricing.  Really though, what’s $50 for a top of the line device?  Sure I’d love to save 50 bones, but over the 2 years you’re stuck with the phone it equates to $2 a month.
    My only problem is when they drop support for a $299 device. At least Apple realizes that if people buy a device from them, they need to stand behind their product.  Yes, they only have 1 product a year, yes it’s only one OS, but it seems to work VERY well for them.  Samsung, Motorola and HTC could learn a few things about providing timely updates and support.

  • Anonymous

    I agree that Verizon charging extra for LTE phones sucks but at the same time as long as that money is going to making their LTE network bigger and better I am fine with it. also saving 50 bucks on a phone isn’t worth a lesser network.

  • jb

    It’s been a while since I looked into this at all so my memory could ABSOLUTELY be failing me on this – feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

    But, isn’t AT&T’s 4G network supposed to be slower (substantially slower in fact) than Verizon’s 4G network?

    For so many that criticize the Thunderbolt – one thing I’m happy about.  I bought mine on launch day which means that when upgrade times comes around next year, there should be a very nice variety of phones to choose from which will hopefully be the second generation of 4G phones meaning battery life shouldn’t be an issue.  All we have to this point are incremental improvements. In fact, it’d be nice if this time next year, there’s another Nexus device – that’d be one heck of an upgrade!

    • Well, AT&T is deploying LTE. Verizon is also using LTE. Thus I’m not quite sure why you are stating that LTE is substantially slower than LTE.

  • Jcost82

    whats going on with this site? it used to be a great place to come and get information about upcoming android products. now it appears to be a forum for its creators to stand on a soapbox bitch, moan, and stir the pot. Verizon has always been top of the line when it comes to quality. they do not cut corners when it comes to network. I for one dont mind paying a measly $50 more for a phone knowing it will work pretty much anywhere. thank god this is a free country and anyone left “rubbed the wrong way” can switch to at&t be stuck on an inferior network, but hey at least they saved $50 on principal. 

  • Anonymous

    Because when u r the only one in the market u charge whatever the heck u want…

    • Anonymous

      Indeed, maybe the addition of competition in the market will drive the prices back down.

  • Anonymous

    At this point, I am willing to bet that the Galaxy Nexus is released in 3 months from now on AT&T for $199.99

  • Anonymous

    The company my wife works with gets equipment and plan discounts. Her bionic was $249.99 after the discount, so i figure my nexus will be the same amount.

  • El El Kool J

    Mercedes Benz how can you charge me more for this car when i can get a Lexus with all the same features for less? 

    • BroRob

      Because the Mercedes Benz is allowed to go on the freeway and the Lexus has to use the surface streets!!

  • Anonymous

    Wow–lots of articles lately about the prices of phones. Maybe we should have a refresher in high school economics.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_and_demand

    Supply is from the company, demand is from us. If we are demanding it and paying it, then they will charge it.

  • Ruel Smith

    Folks complaining about AT&T and praising Verizon are just off the hook. I have Verizon, and I have friends on AT&T and Sprint. It pretty much depends on where you are to determine who has the best coverage. I was working at a plant where AT&T had great coverage, Sprint a decent coverage, and my Verizon had spotty coverage. I go somewhere else, the game changes.

    Overall, I’m very happy with Verizon. Pick the carrier that provides you with the best coverage, features, and service.

  • AT&T has what like 5 cities with LTE? That’s why. 😛

  • LiterofCola

    While on the subject of Verizon, I’ve been sitting on an upgrade credit of $100 for a few months now.  And I knew it was a hundred, because I remember logging in and checking a few times a month.  But when I recently logged on to my account, the upgrade credit has been reduced to $50?  Did I miss something?

    • Paul

      $100 upgrade discounts have been gone for well over 2 years. So unless you haven’t upgraded your phone in the last 2-3 years that’s the only way you’d have a $100 credit eligibility. They’ve been bumped down to $50 since at least the point when I got my BB Tour (approx 28 months ago).

      • LiterofCola

        But that’s the thing, I haven’t updated since I bought the OG Droid at release.  And I did see that I had the $100 discount at the beginning of this year, which I never touched.  But it got bumped down to $50?  I understand if they lower the upgrade discount to $50 from now on, but to have a $100 discount, and then have it lowered is a cause for concern.

        • Anonymous

          Yup I remember having a $100 credit and it was bumped down to a $50 credit as well. My 2 yr contract doesn’t end till Feb 2012.

  • Verizon’s better LTE network should arguably make their devices cheaper because greater demand will drive more production, so that one-time costs can be spread across more units. Also, Verizon has a lot more 4G devices, and the competition between providers should help keep prices down. They are just trying to make a buck.

  • Because we can actually use our 4G in a hell of a lot more areas than AT&T and we have better quality 4G than AT&T

  • Craig

    I think the problem with Verizon is that they have always been burdened with CDMA technology. CDMA did not provide a natural upgrade path. What has bothered me most with Verizon is not their pricing but the fact that they severely cripple their devices. Kellex points out the contract prices but the sad fact is that many of us early adopters are paying full price for our equipment. As an example, with taxes the new Droid Razr is $700, yet this phone is so crippled that it will only work on Verizon’s network. In contrast one can buy a fully unlocked Galaxy S2 that is unlocked, without bloat, it weighs less than the new Razr, and it will work just about anywhere in the world. My Droid 3 is twice as thick, weighs almost twice as much, the sim was originally locked, the radio is locked, the phone was severely bloated, the bootloader was locked, and the phone cost $650. I’m not AT&T fan boy but in my opinion the networks are comparable.While Verizon has LTE in many areas, AT&T has HSPA+ in more areas than Verizon’s LTE. As an example, on this island we have no LTE but we do have access to HSPA+. HSPA+ is about four times as fast as Verizon’s 3G. The LTE speed is nice to have but it becomes useless if Verizon intends to throttle it’s unlimited customers at 2GB of throughput. At this point I will keep my unlocked Galaxy S2 without contract and I will not pay Verizon again for a crippled phone. All we can do as customers is vote with our wallet.

  • AT&T has been losing customers for the last few years.  And AT&T doesn’t work for shit where I live.  Sprint doesn’t either.  I am a former Alltel customer that got gobbled up and I am glad I did since the service is head and shoulders above everything else I see in the area.  Paying and extra $50 or $100 for something that works and is reliable is more than worth it to me.

  • ChuckDz3

    One of the biggest issues we tend to forget is that fact that these are PHONES and the number one use for these should be used a means of communication. Verizon has been and will always be a superior in call clarity and lowest drop call ratings. If you want to sacrifice a few dollars for a phone and jump on AT&T try to remember they have been the lowest ranking in call signal nationwide… I think I’ll stick with Verizon 

  • Kierra

    Simple, you suckers suck it up. 

  • very interesting post! really nice work!

  • tacos

    So Kellex your touting the merits of a yet unproven companies claim of my radios are better than your radios??  Guess what since Verizon had the network they had people by the cajones.  First gen phones are always more expensive and less dependable than the successors. When there is true competition and AT&T and others can claim the same LTE coverage as Verizon and actual proof of superior tech in there phones then pick a corner and start waving the fanboy flag.  Less we not forget how much iphone on all carriers are going for.  299 for a 32g iphone and andorid phones with bigger screens and LTE are same price or less in price.  Guess what people are still buying those phones and all carriers are 3G for that device.. When the true competition is in place then vote with you wallet, pick your poison and decide which is the lesser evil.  Remember these are all business companies and they are in it to make a buck.. Don’t buy if you don’t like the price or what your getting for your money..

  • Anonymous

    all of this outrage over luxury devices is ridiculous.  we’re talking about $200 spread over two years.  if you don’t have the dough to spring for new hardware then that’s no one’s fault but your own.  this article should have ended this argument last week:

    http://www.droid-life.com/2011/10/25/so-what-if-smartphones-are-expensive-at-least-we-have-choices-and-subsidies-opinion/

  • Jboogie1289

    Not to be off topic or anything but how about the fact that AT&T can say when a phone is being launched, not keeping you in the dark about it. Didn’t see any press releases for these two, not that I care about what AT&T puts out but does seem odd. A Samsung and HTC, hmmm…..sounds familiar.

    • Jboogie1289

      Oh, and I also believe In that old saying, “You get what you pay for”!! Nuff said!!!

  • TheRealBeesley

    The extra 50 bucks is well worth the expansive LTE coverage IMO.   ATT doesn’t even come close to the coverage area.  3G is like 1x thanks to Verizon spoiling me 🙂   And that $50 was worth every penny.  

  • I hope you realize that ATT is using a single-chip solution (still first gen) but we are using a dual-chip solution which keeps two radios on at all times instead of one like the ATT solution, that cuts costs a lot.

  • Anonymous

    The most likely reason is, “we have something no one else does and you’re going to pay a premium to use it first.” I wouldn’t be surprised to see prices drop now that they have some form of LTE competition.

  • Anonymous

    Simple….. if you want more coverage, then pay more….. I do not want to change the provider now as I may loose the “unlimited” data plan with VZW. 

  • Eric Hedden

    They just need to STFU, take my money, and give me my Galaxy Nexus. I’ve been waiting for a year for a worthy phone to upgrade to…

    • Anonymous

      When VZ prices the 16GB at $299 and the 32GB at $399 will you be saying the same thing?

      • YES! but that won’t happen

      • StealthVoodoo

        It’s already been MAP’d. Do you know how often that number goes up? As close to never as I’ve seen. And people keep touting this “16/32gb” thing. Anyone have a link to that, because I’ve never seen that official.

  • This has everything to do with being first and ahead of everyone else with LTE. Verizon can charge more just for the fact that they have the largest network with LTE in the US right now. AT&T turning on 3 cities does not change this at all. There may be some promotions from Verizon on those fronts, but I highly doubt it. For travelers with LTE phones this does not boat well on AT&T and Verizon can point that out. Next year if AT&T is able to catch Verizon in deploying as many LTE antennas then sure, but for now Verizon is king on LTE and AT&T will take a long time trying to catch them.

  • Anonymous

    Part of it may be greed.  But can’t ignore that Verizon adds more cities in one of their update days than AT&T will have by the end of the year.  Heck they launched twice as many cities when they went live.

  • Jarred Sutherland

    Why are they so much more expensive?

    Because you’ll still buy them.

  • don’t you have to pay more for a 4g AT&T data plan?

  • I’ve been with VZW since they were Bell Atlantic (or whatever the name was) and I have always been paying more than ATT. My guess is because their coverage and service has always been superior. I was always jealous that other companies had better phone, but not to the point of switching carriers. I guess that’s why they think they can get away with it because of dummies like me.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, but AT&T still sucks.

  • Wow, I don’t see how somebody who covers cell phone tech all day every day doesn’t see how this is going to play out. AT&T knows that their network is tiny right now so they are keeping the prices down just a bit because of that. They’ll use the price difference to try and sway a few people who are wavering. Verizon will not be lowering their prices at all to match because they know AT&T will raise their prices soon.

    Within 6 months time $299 will be the typical price for AT&T phones as well. Just wait and see. These two companies are all about keeping things as close to the same as possible with the exception of 1 or 2 tiny distinguishing characteristics. Price of phones probably will not be that thing because there are always midrange phones that are cheaper.

    Both companies have been waiting for LTE as an excuse to raise phone costs again after having to lower them because of how Apple wanted to price the iPhone. If you recall correctly $300 was a pretty typical price for a smartphone before the iPhone.

  • Trophynuts

    maybe they have those prices low to allure customers to their “new” 4G network. Simple marketing strategy more than likely. I’m sure once they have a good coverage of 4G they will jack their prices up on future devices. again like other people are saying your talking about a difference of 50-100$ IMO its worth it to me to pay that to have good coverage. However the battery life does prove to be a valid argument. But lets face it the days of getting more than 20 hours of use on a charge on a smartphone are numbered. #buyadamncharger

  • This is nothing new. AT&T has always offered better subsidized pricing than Verizon. Look at the Atrix 2, LG Thrill, and the HTC Inspire launching at $99 a w/ 2 year agreement vs the Verizon and Sprint’s $150-199 pricing for comparable devices. The iPhone is the only one that is the same across all 3 carriers.

  • The phone market is a business… AT&T may have lower prices in order to attract people away from VZ, just like Sprint still has unlimited data plans when everyone else stopped.  As someone who got a thunderbolt the first day at 9:01 PST I knew the phone cost more then most other phones out and didn’t care.  The battery life is something I do care about but come on tech people, you bought into something early on and are complaining that months later someone is barely starting to offer a cheaper alternative?  Will VZ’s prices come down? eventually, they are always slow to get on board with the rest of the industry.  Weren’t they like the last company to do “unlimited” texting?  My phone has internet speeds which are blazing fast.  They use to be 29 Mbs + when the network first went 4g and now they are in the 15 range which is still great.  To avoid high prices with new technology you should always wait, thats a fact.  When I go home tonight and play with my PS3 I will think of how many people paid about 600 for a device I paid 250 for.

  • That just means Verizon phone prices are going to drop. I love competition. 

    • LionStone

      Yea but probably not for another year or two or until AT&T actually gives Verizon competition with its LTE network.

  • VZW slave

    Is this a serious question, Kellex?  Verizon is the Big Oil Business of the cell phone industry.  Making record profits in a bad economy is music to those immoral people’s ears.

  • Booboolala2000

    As a VZW customer, i hope AT&T use the to their advantage and advertise the hell out of the price difference and the better battery life. That would force Verizon to pick up or lose big city marketshare.

    • Anonymous

      I think that’s about all AT&T is good for at the moment. 

  • Anonymous

    Kellex what about the article you posted awhile back about how costs would decrease early next year since lte would be more widespread? You still think the phone prices will decrease?

  • Jake

    What’s gonna happen with the iPhone gets 4G? Will it be $199 on Verizon while all the Android 4G phones are $299?

    • Anonymous

      Guess once that happens we will find out

  • Anonymous

    so it is $50 more than at&t skyrocket and verizon has over i think 140 markets and at&t will have what 9? That is like sprint with their wimax. What good is the phone if nowhere has lte?

  • Anonymous

    If you don’t like it, buy an AT&T LTE phone. Its simple really.

  • Anonymous

    Hey i have a good idea, lower the price to 200 and extend the contract to 3 years withe option to upgrade after 2 years for a 20$ fee. Everyone wins

    • Anonymous

      how about upgrade after a year for 20 fee. win win

  • eq

    Multiple baseband support especially on Verizon’s network is not power efficient so that is why the vzw phones are costly and kill battery life.  ATT is obviously trying to lure those LTE customers by lowering prices but because of minimal coverage its not going to gain traction until more of their footprint is covered.

  • Let’s not all forget how much Verizon paid to get the spectrum they are using to so massively and quickly expand their 4G network, a whopping $4.6 BILLION.

  • Trooper

    I feel ya brother but until ATT has more coverage, its not apples to apples.

    That said, if in a few years ATT coverage gets better and their prices are still lower than VZW, I will make the switch.

    • Bionic

      I really doubt att will ever come close to verizon’s coverage map.  it would cost them wayyyy too much while verizon keeps expanding

      • yzerman

        Because of AT&Ts spectrum they are unable to cover as much as Verizon. That is why they’re trying to buy T-Mobile. I don’t know how much coverage AT&T has but not as much as Verizon. Verizon has the best lte spectrum out of all U.S. carriers.

        • Bionic

          Yes its the 700mhz spectrum they purchased from the FCC for over 4 billion.

  • Anonymous

     Anybody here who is willing to drop Verizon and switch to ATT because they can save 50 bucks on an LTE phone?

    Yea, I didn’t think so either.

    • Exactly.  I mean, “But at the same time, no one seemed to have that argument when Big Red initially launched with far less markets than they have today, but with 2-3 low-end devices at $200+ prices.”

      When Verizon initially launched LTE, they had the best network.  Less markets was better than no markets.  Now, AT&T is in 9 markets, but Verizon is in way more, so they still have the best network.  It’s the same argument in both cases– best network == can charge higher prices.

      It’s not the absolute number of markets that makes Verizon be able to charge more, it’s having the best network at any point in time.

    • Cb2000a

      Verizon is too expensive period.  There are too many great alternatives out there for me to continnue supporting their huge profit margins.  I don’t need the latest and greatest mobile phone (wants are different than needs).  So I will take my business elsewhere. 

      • US carrier’s are very expensive.  Have you all seen that recent break down of number of subscribers and revenue?  Verizon and AT&T are the carriers in something like 13th and 16th place globally in terms of number of subscribers in the world, yet they are in 3th and 4th place in terms of revenue.  To put things in perspective, the #1 largest carrier, China Mobile, has 616.8 Million connections to its network with mobile revenue of $20.3 billion while Verizon has 1/6 the number of connections at 106.3 Million, yet it has revenues of $14.7 Billion.  I attached an image to show the breakdown.  We are all getting raked over the coals by the carriers and their coordinated price controls – however, tech in the mobile space is moving fast because of high profits so its a double edged sword for tech lovers.  The stats in the attached image come from GigaOm.

        • Calculatorwatch

          Man that is ridiculous. I know this will probably offend a few republicans out there but I feel like the US has gone back 100 years in terms of market regulation. This is exactly what railroad companies were doing to their customers before Teddy Roosevelt came along. Now the only difference is that wireless companies use loopholes so it’s not technically a trust and pay the government to look the other way. This is what happens when we let the rich control the money… they just keep getting richer.

        • James Pelaccio

          It really is sad, I can buy a month’s worth of voice and data off contract in Europe for
          less than my Verizon contract, and that’s with a sizable discount. The only way
          this will ever end is with more “real” competition. Yet another reason why
          AT&T/T-Mobile merger is a bad idea.

        • ” We are all getting raked over the coals by the carriers and their coordinated price controls”

          Coordinated price controls?  I thought we were arguing about why Verizon was *more* expensive than the other carriers.  And Sprint is busy advertising how it’s cheaper, and then there are all the other non Big Four carriers and prepaid that are expressly cheaper.

          It’s a funny way of coordinating prices.

          Also note that revenue != profit.  I’d prefer to see an example with profits.  In any case, it’s hardly surprising that Chinese companies charge Chinese customers less.

      • Hoosiercub

        I want a recent and relevant devices.. I need great coverage no matter where I go.

      • you get what you pay for, and that would be better coverage all around, and better customer service. I’ve worked for both carriers, so I can speak from experience. I’ll spend a few extra bucks a month and little more for the devices for better overall service. Do some homework and see where AT&T ranks among the other carriers. Dead last in quite a few categories. Just saying….

        • Anonymous

          I was an ATT customer once and they treated us like dirt.  They would put on big promotions and then have 3 or 4 people in theyr stores.  I waited 4 hours twice for a rep and then she knew less about phones than my dog.  I may have to pay a little more but Verizon has always been excellant in every respect, from network availablity to pleasant and knowledgeable employees, both on-line and in person.  I wouldn’t use ATT if they gave me a free phone and free monthly service.

    • Anonymous

      Nope! But it is F*&King crazy how much we pay for service and phones with Verizon! and that is why Blood (Sucking) Red keeps having huge profit gains each quarter. The shareholders are laughing all the way to the bank.

    • no but i am leaving Verizon in a year when my contract is up. Cricket or T-Mobile. Im tired of being charged for data and every other little option i have. No more free any 2 so no reason to stay now. going to go from $160 a month to $100 is why.

      • Anonymous

        T-Mobile may be AT&T in a year…and cricket? Woooowwwww….that’s pathetic. At least go Sprint if you can’t afford Verizon.

        • excuse me but affording and willing to spend are two entirely different things.

        • Ta

          I’m sure Verizon could afford to lower my bill, but I don’t think they’re willing.

      • StealthVoodoo

        It was never “free any 2” unless you went lower end.

      • JDizzle

        Why not MetroPCS? $40 a month unlimited everything…not sure of the coverage though.

    • Sp4rxx

      I won’t switch just due the fact of coverage – Sprint and ATT in my area just flat out sucks – friends of mine who own both complain all the time, but they aren’t VZW is what I always get in response.

      I say “good luck with that spotty coverage!”

  • If you want to be an early adopter, sometimes you have to help absorb more of the initial research and deployment costs of said new technology. That’s the price you pay for being on the bleeding edge. Sucks, but that’s just the way it is.

  • Mikehawke

    That’s because AT&T’s network isn’t worth even a free phone

  • Jim Ortmeier

    I wonder if it has to do with the difference in 3G tech by each. I remember reading that it was more difficult to go from CDMA to LTE than to go from GSM to LTE. Could the reason they have these new generation chips be that it is also more difficult to integrate CDMA/LTE on a single chip than a GSM/LTE one? Since most of the world is GSM, the chips to integrate GSM and LTE on one should be more prevalent, and a single CDMA/LTE chip wiould be more custom/ specialized.

  • Anonymous

    I think Verizon’s goal with the rapid rollout is to move all LTE soon, eliminating cdma all together.

    • Bionic

      they wont eliminate cdma.  cdma will always be in the background.  

      • Anonymous

        They said they want to eliminate cdma and be all lte by 2013

        • Anonymous

          Sorry, that’s not correct. They said they’ll cover their entire 3G footprint by 2013, but nothing about shutting down the CDMA network. They simply can’t do that. Most of Verizon’s users will still be accessing the CDMA by the end of 2013. You can’t just cut them off. 

          I’ll try and locate the article, but i read the CDMA network will be running until at least 2018. I will search for it.

          Here is one. Third paragraph from bottom.
          Melone: “He said Verizon Wireless would support its CDMA 1x network at least through 2018 to 2020.”

          http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/verizon-wireless-cto-spurns-network-outsourcing-posits-evdo-shutdown/2009-05-07

          • StealthVoodoo

            Yes, 1X will still be around to handle voice calls. But EV-DO 3G will be dismantled. Probably starting in 2015 if I had to guess.

            2013 = Full Footprint, Last 3G phones go on sale
            2015 = LTE-covered areas start with EV-DO dismantle as last 3G only phones are coming off of contract.

        • Alexander Garcia

          Umm… NO

      • Anonymous

        They do want to go to VoLTE by 2014 at the latest.

        • Bionic

          Yeah i know

      • Anonymous

        They have already shown a rough volte demo on a thunderbolt. I think they will push an update to all LTE phones when coverage matches the cdma footprint that will turn off the cdma radio and run LTE only. That will be the day Verizon LTE phones all get good battery life.

        • Bionic

          sure, but i dont believe that they will just simply “turn off” cdma when that happens. I think they will keep it as a back up signal, why wouldnt you?

          • Anonymous

            They may not turn off the CDMA network for a while after full coverage, but with voice being done over LTE the CDMA radio within the phones can be shut off unless they are needed for an outage or something, but eventually LTE will be mainstream like CDMA is now and some other technology will be being deployed for faster data..

  • Everything on VZW pretty much costs more.

    • Anonymous

      and they work better……   :o)

  • Tim

    why didn’t Verizon adopt the radio tech that AT&T did? Sounds like someone missed a class of how to develop a battery-efficient product….

    • Bionic

      ummmm, are you an idiot?   Verizon paid the premium $ to get the 700mhz radio range which is “best” for LTE.  Both Verizon and ATT use LTE.  Verizon’s is just plain better and faster.  

    • Jim Ortmeier

      The reason is GSM is closer to LTE than CDMA is. Most of the world uses GSM so the tech will be cheaper since that’s what will sell the most. Integrating CDMA and LTE on a single ship is more of a specialized product.

  • Mctypething

    This really affects those of us that have to pay for our phones. Not sure why you’re complaining when you get the phones for free.

    • Anonymous

      Hah you have no idea what you are talking about. 😛

      If only this business worked that way.

      • lets try not to shut him down with negative comments when he puts together a cohesive sentence. 
        good try Mctypething. Kellex isnt mad bro. 

      • Mctypething

        some of your tech blog counterparts have openly stated that they received phones for free, so either you’re doing something wrong or you’re lying. Why wouldn’t ‘the business’ work that way? Motorola has a clear incentive for you to review their phones and spread the word, seems worth the cost of a free one to me.

  • I will gladly take the additional cost on the phone side rather than the service

  • The prices may cause Verizon to reduce their prices in the near future.

    Hopefully

    • Bionic

      I doubt it, Verizon is the industry leader, they set the bar, pretty much.  

  • Anonymous

    It has nothing to do w/the price of radios (or any other commodity) and everything to do with the VZW’s management wanting to get a ‘premium price’ because the phone has 4G LTE. Didn’t one of their bigwigs say this in so many words — that they thought LTE was worth the $100 premium?

  • Slownews day

    Maybe if everyone were to kick and screen and whine and cry for a new RAZR, then start a petition!!!!

  • Anonymous

    probably because verizon supports a network that actually works. just a guess. 

  • dcyamaha

    There is a way to just use 3G, correct? put a widget on the home screen to turn it off to save battery??

    • bigrob60

      That’s what I would do most of the time. Talk on 3G and only turn 4G on when I had to use Data.

      • LionStone

        Yes and the thing I like about the LTE ON/OFF app for the TB is the settings are more extensive and will allow me to set it to CDMA ONLY when I’m in an area that doesn’t even get 3G.

    • Bionic

      I already have one

    • Anonymous

      Hah look at your dropping your own opinion piece. 😛

      I would just hope that with a competitor entering the market, that these prices come back down some.

  • PyroHoltz

    Technically the market(read: buyer) sets the price.

    If everyone would vote these prices with their wallets then Big Red would be forced to lower them.

    If people pay, then the prices have been deemed sufficient.

    • Anonymous

      I guess I sort of agree, but also do not in a way. Verizon set that price and there weren’t other options, so there was only 1 choice. I guess what will be interesting to see now, is if AT&T’s pricing helps drive Verizon’s down. It probably won’t.

      • GuyDudeBro

        There was only one choice if you HAD to buy a 4G phone.  4G isn’t a needed tech.  It is a wanted tech.  

        • Bionic

          i think that is debatable.  There are a lot of business people out there that send large files back and fourth while on the road or out of town or whatever.  apps like zumocast only work well under LTE speeds for large files.  

          • GuyDudeBro

            Again.  Not necessary.  Just wanted.  As in, those business people want to transfer the file faster than the current 3G network will allow.

          • Bionic

            I beg to differ. Your argument was about battery. Have you ever watched your battery drain faster than when 3G tries to send a large file? Your phone gets real hot and the battery goes quick. Under 4G yes it takes some battery but not nearly as much because the phone isnt struggling.

          • Jason

            in that reply you can say that cell phones as a whole are just “wanted”, you could always find a payphone to make calls or use the postal system to send your paperwork to people. Face the facts that cell service is becoming a utility like water, power, telephone. The network is upgrading to accommodate the new demand on it, so yes the new network is necessary.

          • Except if you are traveling you cannot afford to have a transfer take hours instead of minutes. That is not a want that is a need.  Ever try submitting a 122MB RFP over 3G speeds?  Didn’t think so.  There are plenty of situations where speed is a need and right now VZW has the best speeds in the most places.  Also I work remotely a lot and hate my 3G speeds but where I live its all I get.  Been in a few 4G areas and it makes all the difference in being more productive.

      • Bionic

        IT WONT.  Verizon is pretty much seen as the industry leader in my eyes.  They set the bar.  Why are they the “industry leader” you ask?  Because they have the best network, usually the best phones, and fastest LTE speeds.  I know one can argue about “best phones” but whatever.  

      • Anonymous

        It won’t in the near term, but it will in the long term. Don’t forget AT&T has less than 5 LTE markets at this point. As they expand and LTE phones become the norm I suspect they will come down as there’s less of premium associated with it and competition stiffens. 
        And there still is hardware price difference between the CDMA/LTE chipsets needed for Verizon and the straight GSM LTE chipsets for ATT and others. However, it’s nowhere near the difference in contract pricing.

        • Anonymous

          If I remember correctly this is exactly what happened with 3G phones and will happen again with LTE-A phones next.  Want new wireless tech in the first 6 – 12 months?  You’re going to pay extra.

      • PyroHoltz

        When has it ever been affordable to be an early adopter though? I think if you want to jump on the bandwagon within a year of a new tech then you better be prepared to accept a higher entrance fee.

        I know my first comment was a little overly simplistic and I do understand subsidized cell phones don’t embrace a truly capitalistic model but I was just trying to make a point.

        Gotta pay to play.

      • Jsn_W

        Maybe not publicly, but maybe just for one day you could be that a-hole that every CSR hates and threaten to switch if they don’t give you the g-nex for $199…

        Thanks DL, for the leverage ; )

    • CW927

      Only in a truly open market. Verizon is a closed market as individual products on their network can be limited. There are some monopolistic aspects to Verizon’s pricing model.

      • Jim Ortmeier

        The tech is what is closing Verizon off from others. But it’s not like you can just swap the SIM card out of your AT&T phone and use it in a T-Mobile one. Here is the US each carrier is closed off, except for the rare instances where you can actually get a T-Mobile phone to work on AT&T, and vice versa. But again it’s rare. With CDMA, they use MEID numbers on phones (like a serial number) to lock it to the carrier (Verizon and Sprint).

        • Elliot323

          Rare? Apparently you’ve never bought an unlock code. It’s rare that you can not interchange T-Mobile and AT&T phones.

          • Jim Ortmeier

            I’m not talking about going through other channels, I’m talking about through the carrier. Sometimes they offer unlocked, but buying unlock codes is kinda a gray area legally. In that event you can also clone an MEID, but it’s not legal.

      • PyroHoltz

        Agreed, subsidized cell phone purchases don’t follow the same models as most other products but folks can opt to wait for the tech to cool down and become a little more mainstream.

      • Mike_Jones

        This statement is ridiculous.  If you don’t like Verizon, choose another carrier, there is no “closed market” like you are suggesting.  There are absolutely no monopolistic aspects to Verizon’s pricing.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe because ATT has only what.. 12 or so LTE markets so far while Verizon had a lot more when it came out with the TB and charge?

    Plus the fact that ATT SUCKS BIG TIME when it comes to call quality… not to mention their horrendous customer support.

    ATT is just trying to woo people.. hence the reduced price.

  • Meh. I’ll turn the 4G off as soon as I get my phone. It seems to me that it’s more of a situational tech, rather than an all day, everyday tech. 

    After I typed that, I realize thats even a better reason to be mad about high phone prices.

    • TheLulz

      Say how much batter life would we get on 3g only, I dont think its terribly slow. Its not like I stream HD video all day

    • So there is a 4G on/off toggle just like the power control widget (or even perhaps ON the power control widget)?

      I guess I’m surprised whenever VZ doesn’t lock a feature 🙂

      • LionStone

        After one of the updates, the TB did get a setting in its mobile networks to switch it off 4G, but we also had the LTE ON/OFF app pretty soon after it launched. These two settings conflict with each other which I’ve written about before…not sure with the other devices if they have a 4G toggle or other?

  • Bionic

    Ill pay an extra $50 per phone in order to get good signal and not AT&T’s shittyy weak signal, especially out in the country.  

    I like my non-dropped calls and industry leading LTE speeds.  Screw AT&T

    • As much as I hate the price, you’ve got a point.

    • Rich

      Well guy, your paying more for a shitty phone and service so what is the difference between ATT&T vs. VZW

      • Did you know that there is an actual difference between the words your and you’re?

        • Ruel Smith

          Did you know that people that have no argument attack the writer’s grammar, instead?

          • Anonymous

            He probably had to attack the grammar because the sentence as so incoherent it was the only thing that could possibly be attacked. Then if the poster tried to make an effort to fix the grammatical errors he could have possibly made a sentence that could be understood.

      • Bionic

        How the fck do you figure? Im having ZERO problems with my Bionic and my service is great. Im getting 25mbps on LTE and 19 hours of battery life under LTE.

        Dont try to tell me, guy. ATT’s problems are well documented.

        • Billy Thompson

          Really?  So you are the first person I have heard of that is not having any radio drops on the Bionic!  Congrats!  Mine drops at least 3 times a day, pretty much par for the course over on XDA.  Lucky you!

          • Anonymous

            I talk an Average of 5000 minutes a month. I dont have dropped calls on the Bionic at all. i concur with Bionic previous post that the phone bionic works great.

          • MFG

            No no. We mean DATA drops. My Bionic’s data inconsistentcies are getting out of control. Can’t wait for the Nexus (let’s hope that LTE device has no problems, either).

          • Billy Thompson

            Yes, sorry I meant data drops.  All friggin day long.

          • I was having that issue, swapped my Bionic at Best Buy inside the 30 days for a brand new one and have had zero problems.  It’s not the phone you just have a bad LTE radio.

          • WaltAssault

            My Wife’s Bionic is being replaced by Verizon as we speak. The radio doesn’t work more than it works. It has been the most disapointing phone I have ever seen.

          • that’s why warranties exist. The first batch of phones were a bit spotty, but I just got one, and it’s been fantastic. No problems holding a data signal. Also keep in mind there is a patch coming very soon to help with these signal bugs. Moto’s good about this stuff, so I wouldn’t bash the Bionic just yet.

          • Bionic

            Well its true dude, i got my Bionic on release day and have had no problems. Yes ive seen it drop the data signal maybe a total of 5 times but toggling airplane mode fixes it quickly. The pentile screen is debatable, i myself find it perfectly fine. Battery life is great, the best of any LTE phone. I seriously have no problems with it. Hell I even use the thing to watch Sunday Night football while im at work.

      • Haha, name me one phone on AT&T 4G LTE that’s better than the Galaxy Nexus, the Rezound, or the RAZR – you can’t.

    • Anonymous

      YEAH, F AT&T and their evil f’n dictators!

    • Anonymous

      Does VZW pay good benefits to employees or are you just on contract?

      • Bionic

        Nope. Just a very satisfied customer. I have family that have ATT and it simply sucks. ATT is a good company when it comes to other stuff like its Uverse internet, love it. But when it comes to cell phones, it sucks big time. They always finish at the bottom of customer satisfaction polls while Verizon and US Cellular top the list consistently.

    • you just nailed it my friend.

  • The difference is that Verizon has more coverage. When those phones launch they will only have 4G LTE in 10 cities. Three of which are in Texas.

  • Anonymous

    I’m about to switch to the dark side off contract. So I know I’m gonna pay big bucks! All for the love of great data and speed…

  • Kevin Varcasio

    If people are paying the price for Verizon, the phones aren’t too expensive.