iPhone 6 Carriers: Verizon vs AT&T vs T-Mobile vs Sprint
Finding the best iPhone 6 carrier is more challenging than in earlier years thanks to better coverage, new pricing plans and special features that you can only get on select carriers.
Even with new early upgrade plans that make it easier to buy a new iPhone every year, picking the best iPhone 6 carrier is an important decision if you want to avoid dropped calls, no coverage and keep your monthly bill at a minimum.
The four major iPhone 6 carriers are AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. There are smaller carriers offering the new iPhones soon, but most shoppers will be looking for an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus on one of these big name carriers.
Thanks to the new VOLTE support in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Verizon customers can now talk and use data at the same time, as soon as the VOLTE network is live later this year. T-Mobile is also doing the best it can to convince buyers to pick the up and comer as their iPhone 6 carrier with WiFi calling and other freebies. Sprint is still struggling to attract users, offering several plans and deals in hopes of earning a top spot as an iPhone 6 carrier in 2014. AT&T isn’t going crazy, and they don’t need to thanks to an early start with the iPhone and expanding 4G LTE coverage.
Read: How much iPhone 6 Storage do I Need?
Apple announced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus on September 9th with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays. The new iPhones includes faster processors, better cameras and a new design, in addition to the ability to use the phone as a mobile wallet and much more.
iPhone 6 prices start at $199 on a two-year contract and iPhone 6 Plus prices at $299, but every iPhone 6 carrier also offers some type of payment plan that lets users pay $0 down and make monthly payments, and Sprint even offers an iPhone 6 lease program. Monthly iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 payments range from $27 to $37 a month depending on the plan you choose.
You may think that price is all that matters when picking an iPhone 6 carrier, but you need to look at much more. Coverage is an important part of finding the best iPhone 6 carrier, as are all the added things like NFL Mobile and free music streaming services picking the best iPhone 6 carrier is more complicated than ever.
Read: iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus
Thankfully we’re breaking down the best iPhone 6 carriers options to help you figure out which carrier is best for you.
iPhone 6 Carrier Comparison
We’ll go through why you should and shouldn’t choose the best iPhone 6 carriers, to help you pick the right carrier. This may be as simple as upgrading on your current device, or you may be looking forward to switching to a new carrier. If you switch you can bring your number and T-Mobile and Sprint both offer extra deals to help you switch without paying an Early Termination Fee (ETF).
The table below highlights some of the most important information about picking an iPhone 6 carrier. You can use this as a starting point to pick the iPhone 6 plan and carrier you want, but be sure to check out the sections below for more details.
|iPhone 6 Prices||iPhone 6 $199 / iPhone 6 Plus $299 on Contract||$649 / $749|
|iPhone 6 Early Upgrade Prices (16GB)||$0 Down $27.50 a Month / $37.50 a Month||$20 a month Lease/$30 a Month Own||$0 Down $27.08 / 31.25 a Month|
|iPhone 6 Deals||$100 Bill credit for new NEXT Line||Free iPhone 6 With Trade||iPhone 6 for LifeLease, 4 Lines for $100||None|
|Coverage||Coverage Map||Coverage Map||Coverage Map||Coverage Map|
|Cheapest iPhone 6 Plan 1GB min w/ Unlimited Minutes / Text||$65 – 1GB||$60 – 2GB||$70 – Unlimited Data||$50 – 1GB|
|JUMP/NEXT/EDGE Plans 1GB||$50 – 1GB||$50 – 2GB||$70 – Unlimited Data||$50 – 1GB|
|Average iPhone 6 Plans – 4GB||$110||$110||$70 – Unlimited Data||$70 – 5GB|
|JUMP/NEXT/EDGE Plans 4GB||$95||$100||$70 – Unlimited Data||$70 – 5GB|
|Simultaneous Voice and Data||Yes||Yes+||Yes+||Yes|
|Special Apps & Features||Beats Music Family Share||NFL Mobile||No||Music Freedom, WiFi Calling, Roaming|
|Disclaimer||*Estimated pricing +When VOLTE Launches|
We’ll update this table when T-Mobile announces their official iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus pricing.
iPhone 6 Carrier Speedtest Comparison
The speed of your iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will vary based on your carrier, coverage and other factors, but you can watch the 4G LTE AT&T vs Sprint vs Verizon vs T-Mobile speedtest video below to show how fast the networks are.
For a better result, ask people you know how their connection is. Keep in mind Verizon delivered a new XLTE network this year that can deliver incredible speeds in the right circumstances.
iPhone 6 Carrier Coverage
AT&T and Verizon offer the best coverage for the most users, but there are still pockets where Verizon delivers and AT&T cannot. Sprint and T-Mobile also offer growing coverage options, but for many users they are not an easy option even this late in 2014.
You can check all the iPhone 6 carrier coverage maps to see how they compare or use an app like Coverage? to get a really good look at the carriers in your area.
The next best thing is to ask your friends and family what carrier they use since they can offer a better opinion on the best or worst iPhone 6 carrier choices.
Why You Want a Verizon iPhone 6
At Gotta Be Mobile we use each of these carriers for various reviews and tests throughout the year and Verizon is one of the best iPhone 6 carriers you can pick for coverage.
Although this varies based on location, and there are times I cannot make a phone call at home on AT&T or Verizon, most places the team travels delivers good Verizon coverage.
When Verizon VOLTE launches the iPhone 6 will also support simultaneous voice and data on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, so you can talk while surfing the web. In the past we’ve had success using a Verizon iPhone on AT&T or T-Mobile with a new SIM card.
Verizon is also the only carrier with NFL Mobile, which delivers live NFL games to the iPhone on WiFi and 4G LTE. More on the Verizon iPhone 6.
Why You Don’t Want the iPhone 6 on Verizon
- 4G LTE rollout is Done. If you don’t have 4G LTE don’t expect it.
- No Unlimited Data options
- Verizon is not cheap.
Why You Want a AT&T iPhone 6
For most users you can’t go wrong with AT&T or Verizon. There are some areas where you will get better coverage with each, but nationwide AT&T is close to matching Verizon on coverage. Some of that is 4G instead of 4G LTE, but it is still fast enough for most of our needs.
You can talk and surf on AT&T already, which used to be a big plus, but this is coming to other carriers now. AT&T 4G LTE is expanding quickly so it’s worth checking if you didn’t have the option last time you bought a new iPhone. More on the AT&T iPhone 6.
Why You Don’t Want the iPhone 6 on AT&T
- Rough performance in major cities like New York City and San Francisco.
- AT&T ranks behind Verizon in JD Power ratings for performance and quality.
- 4G LTE rollout continues, so you may not be covered yet.
- No Unlimited data plans.
Why You Want a Sprint iPhone 6
A Sprint iPhone 6 is a good choice if you live, work and travel in areas with great Sprint coverage. Unfortunately this is a smaller area than AT&T and Verizon.
Sprint offers interesting Framily plans and like T-Mobile will pay your ETF to switch, plus iPhone 6 deals. There are also Unlimited Data plans at affordable prices and a new iPhone for life leasing option. More on the Sprint iPhone 6.
Why You Don’t Want the iPhone 6 on Sprint
- Comparatively small 4G LTE network
- Slow 3G Speeds
- If you don’t need tons of data there are better deals.
- Added charge for Mobile Hotspot
Why You Want a T-Mobile iPhone 6
The T-Mobile Uncarrier movement delivers some real benefits to users including WiFi calling, Music Freedom which doesn’t count streaming music against your data use, and great international data and texting options that other carriers can’t match.
WiFi calling on the iPhone 6 will help you make calls even if T-Mobile’s network isn’t great where you are, as long as you have WiFi.
T-Mobile also offers an unlimited iPhone plan, although it limits the hotspot use to 5GB. More on the T-Mobile iPhone 6.
Why You Don’t Want the iPhone 6 on T-Mobile
- Small 4G LTE network
- No wireless contract, but you still have a payment contract.
- More gaps in coverage in rural areas than the competition.
Picking the best iPhone 6 carrier is more of a challenge this year, but with this information you can start to choose the right carrier and plan for you.
10/08/2014 at 10:47 am
•Added charge for Mobile Hotspot on Sprints Network is incorrect. With the NEW Family Share Pack plans, Mobile Hotspot is included on all Devices. Go head and Fact check, it’s in black and white.