Samsung Galaxy Note 2: AT&T to Verizon – Which U.S. Carrier is Best?

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 finally touched down in the United States ahead of its official launch event in New York City as T-Mobile became the first American carrier to launch the device. In the coming days though, the 5.5-inch smartphone will arrive in four other carriers including AT&T, Sprint, U.S. Cellular and Verizon leaving consumers with a host of options.

Like the Galaxy S III, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will be taking its talents to all five major U.S. carriers. And and depending on your needs, one of these carriers might be a better place to buy the Galaxy Note 2.

All five carriers will feature a device that sports a large 5.5-inch HD display, quad-core processor, 8MP rear camera and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, but that doesn’t mean the carriers are all created equal. In fact, each as its differences for better and for worse.

Read: 8 Ways the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Beats the iPhone 5.


The Galaxy Note 2 is available on five U.S. carriers.

Samsung will be selling the Galaxy Note 2 for Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular but users will need to pick which carrier they want to use before buying the Galaxy Note 2 because it’s difficult to switch carriers once the purchase has been made.

Read: Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy S III.

Here, we take a look at reasons why or why you might not want to buy the Galaxy Note 2 on a specific U.S. carrier.

Why You Want a Verizon Galaxy Note 2

First, we’ll start with the maybe the most compelling of the Galaxy Note 2 variants, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 for Verizon. For those that are unaware, Verizon did not release the original Galaxy Note despite pleas from its customers which included a fairly lengthy petition that apparently fell on deaf ears.

Read: Verizon Galaxy Note 2 Release Date Likely Coming in November.

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The Verizon Galaxy Note 2.

This time around, Verizon is not passing the Galaxy Note up and it will be releasing the Galaxy Note 2 on its network, much to the delight of Android enthusiasts and those looking to pick up a new Verizon smartphone.

Those looking to pick up the Verizon Galaxy Note 2 might want to do so for the following reasons.

Verizon currently boasts the largest 4G LTE network in the United States. In fact, it’s not even a contest. Verizon currently sports over 400 4G LTE market in the U.S. which means that this is a device that those in both rural and metropolitan areas should be looking at. Below, you can see a coverage map for Verizon’s 4G LTE network, a network that offers insanely fast data speeds, and one that the Galaxy Note of course sports.

Another reason to consider Verizon is its great customer service which time and time again is voted among the best amongst U.S. mobile carriers. The carrier also is heralded for its network which not only provides high quality data services, but voice as well.

Below, is a video showing off how fast Verizon’s 4G LTE network is compared to AT&T’s, on the iPhone 5.

In fact, Verizon boasts not only the highest network quality rating but also the highest customer service ratings for a carrier from J.D. Power and Associates.

Those who are already grandfathered into Verizon’s unlimited data plans might also want to think about staying with Verizon to get a Galaxy Note 2. That’s because Verizon allows unlimited users to upgrade and remain unlimited should the device be bought off-contract. It’s a steep price to pay, but it also affords users the best 4G LTE network with unlimited data.

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Verizon 4G LTE coverage map.

New customers and first time smartphone buyers will need to sign up for a Share Everything Data plan on Verizon that shares the data package with all users and also offers unlimited voice and texting.

Verizon iPhone 5 Plans

All of these Mobile Share plans are available to new and existing customers. Those who are existing customers on Verizon can keep their old plans.

  • Lowest Price: $80.00/month ($1,920 over 2 years) – Unlimited talk and text, 300MB data.
  • Highest Price: $190/month ($4560 over 2 years) – Unlimited talk and text, 20GB data.

Verizon will charge $15 per 1GB that users go over their data limit.

Why You Want a AT&T Galaxy Note 2

AT&T, which was the original carrier of the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note, will also be launching the Galaxy Note 2. It will begin taking pre-orders for the device tomorrow and it will release the Galaxy Note 2 on November 9th. Like the Verizon Galaxy Note 2, the AT&T Galaxy Note 2 has some features that will be attractive to many customers looking for a new smartphone.

Like the original Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Note 2 will run on AT&T’s 4G LTE network. While AT&T’s 4G LTE network isn’t as large as Verizon’s, it’s still the second largest and checks in just under 100 markets across the country. Many of those 100 markets are found in metropolitan cities which makes AT&T a good choice for those that live in cities like San Francisco and New York.

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The AT&T Galaxy Note 2.

Those who are already on AT&T, grandfathered into an unlimited data contract, will likely want to take a close look at the AT&T Galaxy Note 2. That’s because AT&T will allow those buying a device like the Galaxy Note 2 to keep that plan without having to pay the device’s unsubsidized price. That means that those with an unlimited plan can upgrade to the Galaxy Note 2 just by paying $299.99.

Another feature of AT&T that should make it an attractive option to prospective Galaxy Note 2 buyers is the fact that AT&T doesn’t force new customers into its shared data plans like Verizon does. While AT&T’s Mobile Share plans offer cheaper plans for multiple line families, new customers don’t need to choose a shared plan.

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AT&T 4G LTE markets.

Finally, a nice perk that the AT&T Galaxy Note 2 offers is the fact that it runs on both of AT&T’s 4G networks. That means that while it runs on 4G LTE, it will run on HSPA+ where 4G LTE isn’t available. HSPA+ is much faster than regular old 3G and 3G is where Sprint and Verizon’s Galaxy Note 2 will run should 4G LTE not be available.

AT&T iPhone 5 Plans

AT&T continues to offer rollover minutes, something not available on Sprint and Verizon.

  • Lowest price: $59.99/month ($1439.76 over 2 years) – 450 minutes, 300MB of Data and pay as you go texting.
  • Highest price: $230/month ($5,520 over 2 years) – Unlimited talk, text and 20GB of Data.

Why You Want a Sprint Galaxy Note 2

For the first time, Sprint will be carrying Samsung’s Galaxy Note and that should be an exciting prospect for those that on Sprint that have been waiting for the opportunity to run it on its 4G LTE network.

While Sprint offers the smallest 4G LTE network amongst the big three, it is available in several larger cities including Atlanta and should be in larger cities like New York City and San Francisco by March at the latest. So while it’s not the biggest, 4G LTE is available and it will be heading to more cities over the next few months.

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The Sprint Galaxy Note 2.

Maybe the biggest reason to consider Sprint however is the fact that it is the only one of the big three carriers to offer truly unlimited data for new customers. That means that new customers can snag an unlimited data plan and not have to face throttling of speeds after hitting a data limit. This means that those who are looking to consume a ton of 4G LTE data without penalty should take a close look at Sprint.

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Sprint 4G LTE markets.

4G LTE data use will catch up to some users so a fail safe like truly unlimited data is a smart idea.

Sprint iPhone 5 Plans

A little over $100 for a truly unlimited data plan is definitely something to look at for those Galaxy Note 2 customers who are new customers.

  • Lowest price: $79.99/month ($1919.76 over 2 years) 450 minutes, unlimited messaging, unlimited data.
  • Highest price: $109.99/month ($2639.76 over 2 years) Unlimited everything.

Why You Want a T-Mobile Galaxy Note 2

T-Mobile originally was supposed to carry the Samsung Galaxy Note and it did so, for a couple of weeks. Then, the carrier abruptly pulled the plug without warning and sure enough, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 for T-Mobile was announced to take the place of the original.

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The T-Mobile Galaxy Note 2.

Those who are looking for a new Galaxy Note 2 will want to consider the T-Mobile Galaxy Note 2 for a number of reasons. Firstly, those who don’t care about 4G LTE data speeds will want to take a closer look at the Galaxy Note 2 on T-Mobile. T-Mobile’s device currently doesn’t run on a 4G LTE network because T-Mobile doesn’t have one. It will, it seems, work with its network, next year.

However, it does run on an HSPA+ 42 network which is, in theory, as fast as 4G LTE. In reality, it’s not going to hit some of the speeds that 4G LTE can hit but It will work well for those that don’t feel like they need access to LTE and can survive on HSPA+.

T-Mobile also has the Galaxy Note 2 up for sale right now so customers who don’t want to or can’t wait carriers like AT&T and Verizon to release their devices will want to look into the T-Mobile Galaxy Note 2.

T-Mobile Galaxy Note 2 Plans

A little over $100 for a truly unlimited data plan is definitely something to look at for those Galaxy Note 2 customers who are new customers.

  • Lowest price: $79.99/month ($1919.76 over 2 years) 2GB of high speed data, unlimited messaging, unlimited data.
  • Highest price: $94.99/month ($2279.76 over 2 years) 5GB of high speed data, unlimited messaging, unlimited data.

Why You Want a U.S. Cellular Galaxy Note 2

U.S. Cellular, which also carried the Samsung Galaxy S III at launch, will also be carrying the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 alongside the five larger carriers. It will be releasing the Galaxy Note 2 on October 26th for $299.99 on-contract.

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The U.S. Cellular Galaxy Note 2.

U.S. Cellular’s Galaxy Note 2 is going to feature 4G LTE data speeds, unlike T-Mobile’s, which means that it will be able to pick up data speeds that can reach up to 10 times faster than 3G. U.S. Cellular’s 4G LTE network is rapidly expanding and it will become available in 58% of its current markets by the end of the year. The coverage map is small but it’s certainly worth considering for those who land in a coverage area.

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U.S. Cellular 4G LTE coverage.

The carrier also lets customers rack up Reward points that they can use in case they go over their data limits.

U.S. Cellular Galaxy Note 2 Plans

A little over $100 for a truly unlimited data plan is definitely something to look at for those Galaxy Note 2 customers who are new customers.

  • Lowest price: $67.49/month ($1619.76 over 2 years) 300MB of high speed data, unlimited messaging, unlimited data.
  • Highest price: $175.49/month ($4211.76 over 2 years) 10GB of high speed data, unlimited messaging, unlimited data.

The Galaxy Note 2 has many pros and cons.

Why You Don’t Want a Verizon Galaxy Note 2

  • While unconfirmed, we’re fairly certain that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will arrive on Verizon with a locked bootloader. That means that those on Verizon will be unable to fully customize their device with Custom Android ROMs.
  • For new customers, Verizon requires signing up for a shared data plan, even for customers that don’t plan on using a bucket of data between devices.
  • Remember, to keep unlimited data, Verizon will require upgrading users to pay full price for the Galaxy Note 2, a price that is much more than the $299.99 subsidized price.
  • When 4G LTE isn’t available, Verizon’s Galaxy Note 2 will rely on CDMA 3G and not HSPA+ like the AT&T model.
  • The cheapest plan for new customers is $20 a month more than AT&T.
  • Sprint’s Unlimited data plan is available for a penny less than Verizon’s 300MB plan.
  • Home button features an annoying Verizon logo.

Why You Don’t Want a AT&T Galaxy Note 2

  • AT&T’s 4G LTE network is still growing and isn’t available in as many rural areas as Verizon’s network.
  • The carrier constantly comes in behind Verizon for Network performance and customer service, and below Sprint in some areas.
  • AT&T’s top Mobile Share plan is way more expensive than Sprint’s unlimited plan.

Why You Don’t Want a Sprint Galaxy Note 2

  • Sprint’s 4G LTE network is still tiny and won’t arrive in many areas, possibly including New York City and San Francisco, until next year. Sprint’s full 4G LTE roll out won’t be completed until 2014 while AT&T and Verizon are set to be completed in 2013.
  • Those who are using Sprint’s network will depend on 3G where 4G LTE is unavailable. And thus far, it’s unavailable in many areas.
  • Sprint’s 3G network is usually slower than others.
  • Low data users will find a better deal at AT&T.


Why You Don’t Want a T-Mobile Galaxy Note 2

  • T-Mobile still doesn’t have a 4G LTE network and won’t until 2013. The Galaxy Note 2 apparently will run on its 4G LTE network but there is no telling how slow the roll out might be.
  • The carrier is charging a huge amount for the Galaxy Note 2 on-contract. While the others are charging $299.99 on-contract, T-Mobile is charging $370 on-contract after a $50 rebate. That’s going to be an expensive endeavor for many people.
  • T-Mobile, while it claims it offers unlimited data, does throttle users after hitting a certain data limit.

Why You Don’t Want a U.S. Cellular Galaxy Note 2

  • U.S. Cellular has an extremely small 4G LTE network that won’t be available nationwide like AT&T, Sprint or Verizon.
  • Expensive for those that want to consume a lot of data.