So, we know that Google and LG currently has no plans to bring the Nexus 4 to Verizon, or any other LTE carrier. They didn’t say it won’t happen down the road, but they did say it’s not happening now. They may surprise at CES in January with a LTE Nexus 4, and I’m sure many would welcome that. But for now all we have is an unlocked HSPA+ Nexus 4 from the Play Store (and T-Mobile if you want a contract). So why should you leave Verizon? Many people are arguing they won’t be leaving because no one else has coverage in their area, or that data is not as fast or unlimited anywhere but Verizon. While part of that might be true, others might not be.
Data Speeds and Unlimited Data Plans
We are going to compare Verizon to T-Mobile in this example, since they have “truly” unlimited data. While on Verizon’s 4G LTE you can get speeds as fast as 70mbps, how much of that would you actually use? Lately there have been arguments that anything faster than 10-15mbps is a waste on the average consumer. That does seem to be true. If you check your Google+ feed on your Verizon 4G LTE connection (assuming 70mbps) vs checking on your T-Mobile 4G HSPA+ (assuming around 30mbps) you’ll use much less data and it will render in the same amount of time. The only place where these extremely high speeds of LTE really matter are when downloading. For instance, downloading a new nightly of CM10 would take just a couple of minutes on Verizon’s LTE network and maybe an extra minute or two on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network.
GSM vs. CDMA
While most people say that CDMA has better call quality, I have not really noticed much of a difference. I had AT&T for about a month not to long ago, and went to a Verizon store to check out the call quality, and they were about the same. In the same area, at the same time. So technology has really advanced over the last few years, and both AT&T and T-Mobile have worked on their networks to make them better.
Another advantage of GSM over CDMA is the ability to change phones quickly. If you’re like some of us here at Android Headlines, you have a few phones lying around your house and sometimes you want to switch up. With CDMA it’s a much longer process. In fact I went to activate my EVO LTE on my Sprint line earlier this week, and didn’t get data working for about 12 hours (probably due to Hurricane Sandy). But on AT&T or T-Mobile, you simply take out your SIM card and put it into the other device. Unless it needs a different size SIM card.
It’s no surprise that just about every other carrier is cheaper than Verizon, for the same features. But on T-Mobile there are some great, cheap plans. Let’s start with the value plans. They start at $54.99/month for 500 minutes and “truly” unlimited data. That is the plan you want if you’re looking for unlimited data and buying your Nexus 4 from Google. They also have some very affordable pre-paid plans which also work with the Nexus 4 (you can check out my comparison of pre-paid carriers for more information).
The Verizon Galaxy Nexus! When Verizon finally launched it last December after delaying it many times, it launched with Verizon apps pre-installed. This angered many people, as it should. The Nexus is supposed to be the complete Google experience. Bringing fast updates, no bloatware, and stock Android. None of that Touchwiz, or Sense crap that other manufacturers throw on their devices. The Nexus 4, has no bloatware, and isn’t particularly tied to any specific carrier.
Who remembers how long it took Verizon to push out the Android 4.1 – Jelly Bean update to their Galaxy Nexus this summer? It was about 3 months right? That’s not what a Nexus consists of. It should have been rolled out within days of the HSPA+ version getting theirs. Not within months. This brings up another point (in my opinion) as to why Google didn’t include a LTE version of the Nexus 4. They don’t want to deal with carriers not pushing out updates. We see this all the time on other devices. In fact there are some Verizon devices just now getting Android 4.0, a year later.
Before you make a decision be sure to check coverage of other carriers like T-Mobile, AT&T, Simple Mobile, and Straight Talk. The Nexus 4 will work on all of those carriers. But if you get good coverage from any of those, it’s time to dump Verizon. And if you get great coverage from T-Mobile and want truly (not throttled) unlimited data, I’d say go ahead and hook up with the magenta carrier. As they are the only GSM carrier to have unlimited data in the US currently.
But ultimately the choice is yours. We are just trying to bring you the facts so you can make an informed decision about dropping Verizon (or Sprint for that matter) and heading to a GSM carrier and getting the Nexus 4.