I've been writing about the iPhone for a couple of weeks like every other mobile blogger and have been bouncing back and forth on whether or not I was going to purchase it. After the internal AT&T document confirmed that I could swap the SIM card into other devices I decided to go for it and am now the first in line at my local AT&T store so I am assured of getting two tomorrow (my oldest teenage daughter is hanging with me tonight). However, there are many other very good alternatives for those of you who don't want to extend your AT&T contract or switch to AT&T and want to stick with your current provider. Actually, most of these alternatives have more phone functionality than the iPhone and are probably better choices for many people.
T-Mobile: The main alternatives available on T-Mobile are the Sidekick, BlackBerry Pearl, T-Mobile Wing, and T-Mobile Dash. T-Mobile data is cheap at US$29.99 per month for unlimited EDGE data and T-Mobile HotSpots, which is a major reason I have been with them for 5 years. They also have excellent customer service and support. These phones range in price from US$149.99 to US$299.99 with a 2-year contract.
AT&T: The other major US GSM carrier is AT&T and in addition the iPhone they have a very nice selection of 3G-enabled phones like the AT&T 8525 (virtually the same as the HTC TyTN), BlackBerry Pearl and BlackBerry Curve, Palm Treo 680 and Palm Treo 750, Samsung BlackJack, and many other high end feature phones. They range in price from US$99.99 to US$299.99. I haven't personally tried AT&T service, but like other carriers your signal strength is dependent on where you live and work.
Sprint: Sprint has EV-DO Rev. A wireless cards and the first mobile device to use this fast wireless data network will be the HTC Mogul that is a very powerful Windows Mobile 6 Professional device. Sprint also has some other great devices like the Treo 755p, Treo 700wx, Motorola Q, Samsung IP-830W, and other high-end feature phones. The high end smartphones range in price from US$99.99 to US$499.99 with a two-year contract. The single trial experience I had with Sprint was not positive and it took over 4 months just to complete the cancellation of an account that I had open for 7 days.
Verizon: Verizon also has an EV-DO network with devices similar to Sprint, except they haven't yet announced the HTC Mogul. They do have the Motorola Q, XV6700, Treo 700p and 700wx, some BlackBerry models, and some high-end feature phones. Prices range from US$229.99 to US$399.99. I have heard from the MobileTechRoundup co-hosts that Verizon has good service and coverage. Verizon actually issued a press release to try to capitalize on some of the iPhone hype and stated they will be open all day until 9 pm for people to test drive their high speed wireless network and purchase any of their 18 multi-media music devices.
SIM unlocked devices: AT&T and T-Mobile customers in the US also may want to look at some high end SIM unlocked devices that do not lock them into any contracts or obligation. These are generally available from importers like PhoneSource USA and official outlets like Nokia USA. The Nokia N95, the Nokia E61i, and Nokia N80ie.
As you can see there are a ton of choices for serious mobile fans out there and you don't have to focus on just the iPhone. I will be getting mine in about 20 hours though so stay tuned for my thoughts and experiences of the device.