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The Best iPhone 4S Carrier: Sprint, AT&T, or Verizon Wireless

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For the first time ever, Apple will be selling an iPhone with multiple wireless partners right away.  The original iPhone was only available to AT&T customers, but the new iPhone 4s (for which Apple is currently taking pre-orders) will be available on three of America’s largest wireless networks: Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint.

But which one should you get?  No doubt each carrier offers its own exclusive benefits –some will offer better network speed, while others provide cheaper price options –but ultimately it depends on what you, as a consumer, are looking for in your service provider.  Thus, here is a guide, compiled from International Business Times, to help you decide which network best suits you.

Speed:  AT&T

Because AT&T is the only carrier with GSM, it has a faster 3G network and supports simultaneous talking and Web browsing.  AT&T’s network will achieve the closest speed to the max download speed of 14.4 mbps, a speed comparable to 4G phones.

Data: Sprint

Sprint is the only carrier who still offers unlimited data plans, and for only $10 a month. Veteran AT&T users who signed up before it was discontinued may still have access to an unlimited data plan.

Network: Verizon Wireless

We’ve all seen the “can you hear me now?” commercials, but we can, in fact, hear best with Verizon Wireless.  Verizon has the largest 3G network of all three carriers, so you’re more likely to achieve a connection in the countryside with Verizon than with the other two carriers.

Price: Sprint

Though Sprint’s voice plans are a little more expensive ($69.99 for 450 minutes and $99.99 for unlimited min) than Verizon and AT&T ($59.99 for 450 minutes and $89.99 for unlimited min), it makes up the difference with its unlimited data plan ($10 a month).  For 5GB of data, AT&T charges $55 per month and Verizon Wireless charges $50 per month.  Thus, Sprint is the cheapest option for its value.

Each carrier has strengths and flaws, but ultimately it depends on what the individual is looking for in a wireless provider.  Don’t wait too long to decide though, because if you plan on getting the iPhone 4S, you will need to select your carrier up front and you won’t be able to easily switch between carriers.

Images by William Hook and Yutaka Tsutano via Flickr.

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