It was announced today by BGR News that Wal-Mart now offers its $45 a month Straight Talk plan with unlimited text, voice, and data with Apple’s latest flagship smartphone, the iPhone 5. This may seem as though it is good news for some consumers; unfortunately, to purchase this plan, you will have to spend $649 for the unlocked iPhone 5. And $649 on the iPhone 5 is less of a deal than you may realize.
Consumer Reports recently published its report on the top three smartphones at each of the four largest phone carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) to see which phones provided the best ratings for an overall smartphone experience. The result? Apple’s iPhone 5 did not do as expected. A smartphone that is considered by many of its own customers to be “the latest and greatest” of its smartphone collection was ranked lower than some Android handsets.
With AT&T, Apple’s iPhone 5 came in with a score of 77, a little under Samsung’s Galaxy S3 (78) and LG’s Optimus G (79) models. At Sprint, the iPhone 5 was given a satisfaction rating of “75,” which falls right below the Galaxy S3 (76) and the LG Optimus G (77). The iPhone 5 did not fall within the top three at either T-Mobile or Verizon; the top smartphone models there are the Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One S, Galaxy Note II, Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD, and Droid Razr HD.
It could be the case that at T-Mobile, the iPhone 5 is from unlocked customers or not available at all (since the company looks to acquire the iPhone this year). Verizon, however, is a different story. It has the unlocked iPhone 5 and has even offered customers a permanently unlocked iPhone 5 – yet and still, it seems that the Consumer Reports study shows one thing: if the iPhone 5 is given the best deals, no one’s buying. The numbers above, however, point to another truth: the iPhone, although coming in at #3 at both AT&T and Sprint, is not the dominant smartphone many once believed it to be.
LG has never been known for its smartphones. While it has always offered affordable handsets, none of its smartphones (or flip phones, for that matter) have ever stood out to consumers. For years, LG (like other Android manufacturers) have had to stand and watch as consumers at phone carriers where the iPhone 5 was available purchased the iPhone in large numbers. At the same time, however, it is wise to portray the Consumer Reports study in an accurate way: while the “third place” rating of the iPhone 5 at AT&T and Sprint is shocking, what is most shocking about the report is that the iPhone 5 did not appear in the top three at Verizon Wireless. Verizon is known for its unlocked iPhone 5, a feature of Apple’s latest that sets it apart from the other carriers. When a carrier offers an unlocked iPhone that does not rank within the top 3 or 4 smartphones, the sign is a troubling one, indeed.
Reports have surfaced in earlier days that the iPhone 5 is the best smartphone Apple has made, the iPhone 5 has beaten its competition, etc. (these are all statements made by a group of individuals we like to call “Apple fanboys”); at the same time, however, the numbers tell a different story. If I can give you any advice about Apple fanboy reports, it’s this: do not be fooled.