It appears that Sprint's coverage in metro Atlanta can be very spotty- and Sprint's 4G coverage is almost non-existant (save for a spot around Cumberland Mall in Marietta). Slightly better than GSM speeds were my primary experience on both Sprint's 3G and 4G networks (tests ranged from 150Kbps to 500Kbps). Perhaps my home and office are both in realitively bad coverage zones for Sprint? The speeds were disappointing, so the Sprint Galaxy S III went back to the kiosk 6 days later.
T-Mobile also offers the Galaxy S III- and their 4G coverage in Atlanta seems much better. In about 90% of the places I have visited, I have had a decent 4G coverege- and speeds seem to stay in the 14Mbps range. After a few days, the number port request was submitted to T-Mobile and my Verizon account was cancelled.
All said and done, the Galaxy S III cost me about $350 ($150 to T-Mobile and $200 to Verizon for early cancellation) and I get a much cheaper plan and better data throughput (Verizon can be very slow at times as well)- and I still have a fairly decent Galaxy Nexus that I can resell for around $200 to $250 (with the extras I have purchased).
I should be able to get leave Verizon after a year with no real financial loss. :)
Why did I not just stay with Verizon? There are a few reasons.
- I was not eligible for an upgrade until August 2013; the Verizon Galaxy S III would cost me $600.
- If I was eligible for an upgrade, a subsidised phone would force me to abandon my unlimited data plan and pick one of the overpriced Verizon data tier plans.
- Verizon (and AT&T) plans are very expensive; about $140/month for unlimited everything; Sprint is $110 and T-Mobile is $90 for the similar offerings. (the T-Mobile rate includes a $20/month payment arangement for the full cost of the phone- the acutal unlimited 4G plan is $70)
- Verizon (and AT&T) no longer offer an 'unlimited everything' plan; $100 will buy me 2GB of 'shared' data with unlimited talk/text.
Getting the Galaxy Nexus ready for resale has been pretty easy thanks to the One Click back to Stock application from the XDA forums; 15 minutes later my phone is back to the stock Android 4.0.4 with a re-locked bootloader.
My Galaxy S III is now running an early release of Jelly Bean and rooted. My old number was ported over today and all is well in gadget land! :)
Also interesting to note is that you can have an AT&T iPhone unlocked via eBay for $15-$20; T-Mobile is revamping thier network to support LTE and same HSPA+ frequencies as AT&T (namely 1900Mhz), which should allow them to offer 3G/4G connectivity with an unlocked AT&T iPhone 3/3GS/4/4S/5!