BlackBerry Z10 Buyer’s Guide - U.S. Edition

Looking to pick up a BlackBerry Z10 in the US? Here's a breakdown of the major carriers

BlackBerry Z10
By Simon Sage on 19 Mar 2013 01:31 pm EDT
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At long last, the BlackBerry Z10 will be available in America this week!

With three of the four major service providers (AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile) offering the next-gen BlackBerry, it can be a little tricky figuring out which to go with, but luckily we’re here to help you out.

If you're currently with a certain carrier, you'll most likely want to stick it out with them.

If you're thinking of changing up however, we can help you sort out which carrier would be the best fit.

After figuring out the coverage area that makes the most sense for you, we’ll start digging into the rate place and device prices to see how everything stacks up. 

Verizon

Verizon coverage map

Verizon is the big kahuna, and will likely offer you the best 4G LTE coverage money can buy. Verizon is selling the BlackBerry Z10 for $199 on a two-year contract, or $599 with no strings attached. As you can see, coverage is pretty great, though you’ll want to check for yourself to see if your town’s taken care of.

One of the biggest downsides of picking up a BlackBerry Z10 from Verizon is that you’ll have to deal with that big obnoxious logo on the front. Being able to keep a clean front face may be enough to convince users to opt for AT&T or T-Mobile instead. On the flipside, Verizon is also the only carrier with the white BlackBerry Z10 for the time being. Here are the major plans you can pick up with Verizon. 

  • Unlimited nationwide text and talk, 300 MB data - $80.00/month
  • Unlimited nationwide text and talk. 2 GB of data - $100.00/month
  • Unlimited nationwide text and talk, 4 GB of data - $110.00/month

It's worth noting that all of these plans are share plans, so you can give another phone access to your data bucket for $40/month, or $10/month for a tablet. You can dig deeper into Verizon's plans here

AT&T

AT&T coverage map

AT&T is still playing catch-up to Verizon, but they're still a viable alternative. AT&T will have the BlackBerry Z10 on sale for $199 on a two-year contract, or $549 outright. You can see the AT&T data coverage above, but get a closer look at your hometown’s status at AT&T’s network page.Covered?

Here's what you'll get when subscribing to AT&T.

  • 450 rollover minutes, unlimited messaging, 300 MB of data - $79.99/month
  • 900 rollover minutes, unlimited messaging, 3 GB of data - $109.99/month
  • Unlimited nationwide minutes, unlimited messaging, 5 GB of data - $139.99/month

Then set number of minutes may be a deal breaker for real chatterboxes, but otherwise these are pretty comparable to Verizon's plans. Hit up AT&T for a closer look at their plans

T-Mobile

T-Mobile coverage map

T-Mobile has a smaller coverage footprint, but that’s okay - their rate plans are relatively cheap to make up for it. The BlackBerry Z10 is expected to be one of the few LTE devices to be running on the T-Mobile’s upcoming 4G network, which will be something of a novelty to long-time customers used to HSPA+. Be sure to keep an eye on T-Mobile's coverage map to see which markets will have initial LTE service.

We're expecting an announcement on March 26. Though T-Mobile U.S. doesn’t say much about BlackBerry Z10 pricing on its landing page, the prices on AT&T and Verizon are a good indication that T-Mobile will be selling for around $199 on contract and $549-ish on its own.

  • Unlimited nationwide text and talk - $59.99/month
  • Unlimited nationwide text and talk. 5 GB of high speed data - $89.99/month
  • Unlimited nationwide text and talk, 10 GB of high speed data with hotspot enabled - $94.99/month

As mentioned, T-Mobile's prices are a fair bit more reasonable, though you'll have to be willing to deal with limited coverage. More information on T-Mobile plans can be found here. There are also Value Plans that help you pay off the device in installments, or some very attractive prepaid plans if you've got the cash to pay for your device outright. 

Take Your Pick

So that's a look at the major U.S. carriers that will be selling the BlackBerry Z10. Sorry Sprint customers, you'll have to hold out for the Q10 launch this spring.

Coverage is likely to be a deciding factor in which carrier you go with, but for popular areas where you've got a few options, you can clearly save some cash.

Where are you going to get your BlackBerry 10 service? Are you switching, or sticking with an old favorite? 

Check out our Canadian BlackBerry Z10 buyer's guide
Check out our U.K. BlackBerry Z10 buyer's guide

Get help for your BlackBerry Z10

Reader comments

BlackBerry Z10 Buyer’s Guide - U.S. Edition

150 Comments

some hefty prices :)

Unlocked on Simple for 50$ is more my price range. Glad US carriers are finally getting them though

SIMPLE MOBILE is good, but isn't the best option if you're traveling around a lot and not in T-Mobile's native coverage...

Hey Simon, if you're reading, you missed a BIG selling point for T-Mobile. They also offer no-contract HSPA+ plans: (you can go to T-Mo's website and look for the "Monthly 4G Plans", I can't post a link here for whatever reason)

$70/mo Unlimited Talk, Text, HSPA+ (unlimited 4G, no throttling)
$60/mo Unlimited Talk, Text, HSPA+ throttled after 2GB
$50/mo Unlmited Talk, Text, HSPA+ throttled after 100MB
$30/mo 100 minutes, Unlimited Text, HSPA+ throttled after 5GB
$30/mo 1,500 Talk and/or Text messages, 30MB

That is a HUGE advantage in my opinion, especially if you already bought a Z10 unlocked. Please Simon, update your post :)

Im going to try one month of the Tmobile $70 plan and see how much higher speeds I get. I've been averaging 8-14mb down, 2-3mb up with Simple.

How much data have you been using? It's been widely noted by various users that Simple throttles 4G down to 3G/EDGE after 2.5GB. Hopefully Simple changed that.

I guess that would be a prepaid service with T-Mobile. But the rate with simplemobile is less and its the same network as T-mobile

Unlimited for only text and talk NOT data. $50 a month isn't for smart phones either. Smart phone pre pay start at $60 with 500mb of data.

I will have my phone this week! "Excited" is putting my feelings very mildly. I'll be sticking with AT&T sharing 4gigs of data between two devices, unlimited minutes, and texts.

You forgot to mention Verizon's exclusive rights to the White Z10 which might be a deal breaker for people looking at all 3 carriers.

Just buy white carbon fiber and cover your Z10. Then it will be protected as well. Phantom skinz has many covers!!

The battery cover on the white doesn't have the cool grip rubbery feel the black has... but looks sexy!

Via Z10

Verizon. I expect it to be unlocked out of the box just like the HTC 8x, iPhone 5, and all their Droid 4G devices are

Lol, I don't see how Canadians complain and say American plans are way better, Rogers is priced about 20$ less per month than Verizon and att, and T mobile can't even compare to network quality, this was useful info though, nice comparisons

Posted via CB10

This is definitely a realization I came to putting this together. I pay $40/month on WIND for unlimited local talk, text, and data. Coverage is spotty sometimes, but definitely good enough for day-to-day use. 

I am also on wind too and it's got the best prices despite what the naysayers (big three) try to mislead us around with. :)

They'll never be able to match *that* price for unlimited everything.

I think they say our plans are better because we have 2 year contracts instead of 3 year contracts. Though I'd love to pay less if I could.

This is exactly what i was noticing.. 6 gigs of data on my plan and it's only $65.. i couldn't fathom paying over $100 for cell service.

What is with the obnoxious prices of those plans?! I though that here in Canada we were paying prime, but now that I see $140 for 5gb I feel that I won the lottery...

Posted via CB10

No doubt right, I'm probably gonna start something here, but... I pay $71 for 450min anytime anywhere in Canada, Free evenings(6pm-7am) and weekend, unlimited sms/mms and 6gb of tetherable data, and insurance. maybe the 3yr contract ain't so bad.

No kidding. I'm very glad to have the student65 with Telus.
•6gb
•10 nationwide favorite numbers
•unlimited video/picture texts
•free calling after 6 and on weekends
All for a sweet price of $65

Posted via CB10

Those rates are terrible! Wow! Sasktel user here; I get unlimited nation wide roaming as well as text and talk for $65/month. No data cap, although after 10G the speed is throttled.

Posted via CB10

They do not provide service to Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Only AT&T. Alaska at least does have two of its own regional carriers, however I'm not sure if they'll get the Z10. GCI sure was Johnny-on-the-spot for Iphone 5 though, so maybe.

If you have Verizon they will roam off of others and it will still work, but you won't find any Verizon stores in Alaska.

They have (a few) stores in Hawaii... I was there in November and it said Verizon not roaming or anything

I'm on Verizon, and I hardly ever use more than 256MB/month on my 9930. So the big decision is whether to go with 2GB shared between two Z10s, or start at 4GB shared.

+1. I'm in nearly the same boat as lcooksey with two Storm 2's and collectively we use no more than 350 mb/month. Knowing how crazy data use can get with 4G speeds, I'm going to be safe and go with the 4 GB plan. Thankfully it's a few dollars cheaper than our current plan so if we end up going down to 2 GB, we'll save even more!

Sticking with Verizon, works best in my slice of the world. I'm just not sure if I should bite on the Z10 or wait till later this year for a higher end model. History tells me that may never happen.

I pre-ordered a Z10 on Verizon, and it cost $99 plus tax (US dollars). The rep said that it will be available on the 28th at the latest, possibly before. Looking forward to it.

Yes, I'd like to know this too because I will probably be upgrading on Verizon as well. The only upgrade price I see is for $199.99.

Z10 through our business plan at work is $99

Just got the authorization to order one for evaluation in our department XD

Expected delivery next friday...Can't wait!!!

Sorry for the late delay; busy all day.

Same as thawkth: we have a government/non-profit corporate contract with Verizon for service, and my 9930 was due for an upgrade (had it for two years). I'm glad that I'm still grandfathered in on an unlimited data plan.

Unusual for Canadian carrier prices to be cheaper. I have unlimited talk, unlimited long distance, unlimited global texting and 1GB of data for $60 on Fido LTE

I just wish T-Mobile would Release some kind of Date, price or something. Personally I would love it if they said hey BTW we are selling the Z10 as of Right now! That woudl work too.

I don't thinks so fellow Gooner. Best Buy gave me the option to keep my old plan during my At&T upgrade.

No matter which carrier I go with ,ill be slathered in 4G LTE network for hundreds of miles in any direction :D

I hope my company's IT dept will support the Z10 soon. I'm not sure what's it going to take. Upgrade to BES10?

I'm due for an upgrade on my handset from AT&T. I love my keyboard but just can't wait for the Q10 to arrive. I need BB10 now, so the Z10 is the only option right now.

For those of you who say "well on my plan I only use such an such mb per month with my 9900 so ill go with x amount of data "

BlackBerry10 is Not the Blackberry we know. The Z 10 eats mb for breakfast and gigs for supper.

You forgot to mention the difference in devices. AT&T and T-Mobile will be getting the 100-3 model, while Verizon will be using the 100-4 model. That means, if you are with Verizon, you'll be locked into their network. With the 100-3, you could switch between AT&T and T-Mobile, if you decide to switch networks later.

So you cant unlock the Verizon phone and swap it around? (Like you can with the storm and other "global phones")

currently have the tmobile unlimited all plan so I might have to buy the phone and just add it to my plan so I can stay unlimited. I am considering holding off for the Q10 after seeing the specs. I like that is has the oled screen and if I can still set each letter to a speed dial that is a really nice feature. The other nice thing is the batter size. will have to see.

Switched from Sprint to T-Mobile, Value Plan, unlimited everything for $59.99 a month with my corp discount. Using a white Z10, could NOT be happier! :-D

Posted via CB10

I am on Verizon and will stay with them...much better 4gLTE coverage and AT&T tries to call their 4G the fastest but notice they often leave off the LTE? They turned a bunch of their 3G coverage into 4G but LTE...

And as far as the US plans being higher, I think the biggest part of that is paying off the discount for signing a new contract which is only 2 years...in Canada most contracts are 3 years so you have an extra 12 months to pay off the discount....Just my opinion on why there might be some differences

I still have the unlimited 3g grandfathered data plan with AT&T.
Should I change to a 4g data plan? Or should I stick with the unlimited 3g plan. Will I be lacking anything on the Z10 with a 3g plan?
Someone advise

As long as your current plan is an unlimited smartphone data plan, it will stay an unlimited smartphone data plan and just switch from 3G to LTE. Don't let anyone tell you something different.

I pay 47$ here in Austria for 2000min nationwide, 200 min European Union, 1000 text & Unlimited Internet (6GB Full Speed)

Posted via CB10

Wow! Phone plans are pretty expensive in the US. Even the cheapest in this lot is more than my plan, plus at least I get 1GB of data too! Yikes!
Also paid a big fat zilch for my Z10 too! : )

Posted via CB10 via my awesome Z10

Wow, Americans have really expensive plans. I get unlimited everything from WIND (data included) for $30 a month, although I sometimes don't get service in the basement.

I'm considering buying the z10 without contract and then using it on the carrier that supports non-contract phones the best.The reason I want out of contract is because I plan to travel a lot this year and would like the ability to shut off my service while i'm gone. A couple of questions:

1. Anyone know if it's easy too turn off the service and turn on the service whenever you want if you are not on a contract?
2. Is there a problem in keeping your phone number if you turn off your service for a couple months?
3. Seems like it is T-mobile that has the best deal here but does anyone have any insight that could help me figure out which carrier to go with?
4. Since I plan to head overseas a lot, how can I use the z10 internationally. Which carrier would be best to buy an unlocked phone from that would work best in other parts of the world?
5. This is a really stupid question but can someone explain what an unlocked phone is?

thanks for any feedback!

I know most carriers allow you to suspend your service temporarily for up to 6 months at a time (for $5.00 or at least that's how much the fee was when I did it several years ago)

great to know.. thanks. perhaps I should just get verizon and figure out how to get on a shared plan then..

3. This depends on where you live, work and travel to. I won't shoot in the dark and tell you which carrier is the "best" for you because I don't know what the reception is where you are.

4. You want to get your phone unlocked if you get it from a carrier other than Verizon Wireless (will already be unlocked). Then when you travel overseas, you would use a local SIM card from one of their carriers. It's almost always cheaper to use a local carrier's service than to roam on a US carrier while overseas.

5. An unlocked phone is one that is SIM unlocked. This will allow you to insert any other GSM carrier's SIM card and use the phone as you wish.

Thanks for rubbing it in on Sprint again. LOL. Salt in my Sprint wound. Still can't believe it. Leaning toward T-Mobile.

These prices are worse than Canada.

I'm on Koodo and get 200 Nationwide minutes, unlimited text and what amounts to 10$/GB LTE with a base no contract price of $25/mo...

IB

Huh? umm... double check that, Koodo isn't one of the three new carriers, I'm pretty certain they are a sub-brand of Telus... and since Telus and Bell have a tower sharing agreement for everything HSPA and LTE... technically you're saying that Telus and Bell have the worst coverage in Canada... which means they'd be charged with false advertising... which they haven't been... double check a coverage map maybe? :)

I've visited the Koodo kiosks and have been shown their map coverage. From what I've seen it's terrible compared to the major carriers. That's one of the major reasons I stayed with Telus. I have 100% coverage when traveling through the Okanogan. Including the Coquilla (major B.C. Highway) and other areas outcome of the Lower Mainland. Koodo is spotty outside of major urban centres.

Bell, Telus and Rogers reps told me Telus and Rogers share towers. :)

I'm amazed by the US prices!

Here in the UK on Vodafone : unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, 2Gb data, 2Gb wifi on public BT hot spot, no upfront payment for the Z10
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£35 a month / 2 years contract.

Posted from my Z10 via CB10.

I was with T-Mobile for nine long years, and switch to VZW this month. I felt I made the right choice. The only thing T-mobile is good for is the with is the Wifi Calling. Looking @ the coverage map, T-Mobile doesn't cover a lot of the U.S. AT&T cover more of the U.S. with 3G/2G. Overall Verizon holds down the 4G LTE in the U.S. I always believe this saying: "You get, what you pay for." I feel I should pay more, to get the best service and coverage.

What about bb bridge on AT&T? Can you use the mobile device network connection on PB as you can on legacy device? Important if you don't want to pay the extra tethering/hotspot fee to AT&T.

Grandfathered unlimited plan on Verizon...straight up buy out! Until they close out that plan some day in the future.

Sticking with Verizon. In Contract....meaning I will be buying this outright. yeah..there was no decision to make....it was just about not working on the 28th so I can go early and play the rest of the day with my new Z10. I just hope I can keep my unlimited data plan....they swapped it for me onto my 9850 from storm2.....so crossing fingers.
Cheers!

I think I'm switching from AT&T to T-Mobile. I think paying more than $80 a month for cellphone use is crazy. The great thing about T-Mobile is that if your coverage is bad you can use Wifi for calling and texting. You can't do that on any other provider. If you travel abroad this works great too as you can call any US number for free (only using your plan minutes) using Wifi.

Kevin, no info on which device model will each carrier have? Just in case... I was reading through the forum on the different hardware versions and features, so it would be good to get that info later :)

that wifi calling thing is awesome - especially if i travel internationally and want to make phone calls. Need to figure out more on how this works though and if bb10 supports it. It's not clear how you turn on and off this feature.

From what I have read most new phones should support this so Z10 should too. Also, you can't really turn on or off the feature, it is automatic. As long as you're connected to WiFi you should be using the feature. However, if you want to be safe while you are abroad turn off the wireless network connection and stay only on WiFi. I think that should still work. Any current T-mobile customer please jump in here if I'm wrong!

I own a BlackBerry 9900 for T-Mobile there's no app for it, and if the Z10 doesn't have it on launched, there will be an OS update to have the WiFi Calling.

T-Mobile does have Truly Unlimited Nationwide 4G data with no throttling and no tethering/mobile hotspot. Most things will change for T-Mobile's plans within the next week, though.

Been with Tmobile since my 8100 in 2006. Been off contract since 2011. Bought both 9780 and 9900 outright. Switched my line to my business line. Got the Z10 free, no activation fee, $45 /mo for unlimited voice and messages plus $24.99 for unlimited data. $70/ month for everything. I'll take it as Tmobile works just fine with me.

Posted via CB10

I have to stick with Sprint after seeing those prices. I'm with Sprint's wireless advantage club and pay 36 bucks a month total. 20 bucks for the plan, 10 bucks for the smartphone data plan and 6 bucks in fees / tax, whatever.
I want the Z10, but can't justify paying double or more on a monthly basis. The Q will get here sometime soon I hope. Google "sprint wireless adv premium 500" if you want to read more on their plan. It can't be beat. No contract!

Definitely call AT&T. 450 rollover, unlimited messaging which also gives me unlimited mobile to mobile regardless of carrier and 3GB of BlackBerry LTE data. $86/month after taxes.

Posted via CB10

I also have the 450 rollover/3GB plan w/AT&T. I don't use many voice minutes so I'd prefer to put my money into the data instead. Verizon bases their shared plans based on the amount of data you want with unlimited talk and text, which would cost me $100/month for << 2GB- not 3 >>. Pricey...

Telus in Canada.
2 zed10's
Unlimited text messages
200 anytime minutes, free after 6pm free weekends (never talk on phone)
6 gigs data (each phone so 12 total not shared)

I pay 139.00 after taxes total for both. Prices listed seem really high on the American carriers. I keep hearing Canada has too high prices.

Posted via CB10

WOW...I'm moving to the USA from the UK later this year and I'm pretty shocked to see the prices of deals you get in The States... and you've only just got the Z10?! Yowser maybe the UK isn't so bad after all....!

This what you get from Sasktel for $65.00/month with no SAF
unlimited texting
unlimited picture messaging
unlimited local calling
unlimited data (slowed down after 10GB)
call display
150 min. of long distance

Whered you find these prices? I'm switching over and i got the 6gb unlimited everything for $80. Am i missing something?

Leaving Sprint for Verizon since they are not carrying the Z10. Sprint's coverage has been hit and miss for the past year or so with me. Sprint customer for 10 years and Verizon has LTE coverage for my area. Will pay a little more, but worth it for the Z10 and better coverage.

AT&T is great for multitasking on a call and on the web or any other task at the same time.

Staying with Verizon as the other two do not have great service in our area and I'm getting a white Z10 :) can't wait.

Amazing how Verizon charges $599 for the phone outright but other carriers are offering it at $549. They ended up using my upgrade without my permission and they don't want to help me. As soon as I noticed it, about a month after getting my 9930, I contacted them and they said they can't do anything and that it's not their fault. Now I've been persistant saying it wasn't my choice to use it and specifically told them not to but the lady over the phone did anyway. They said I can pay an extra $221 which was the difference in price for the 9930 and I can then get the Z10 for their contract price. Sounds like a hassle to me but I really want this phone. Should I wait until Dec for my upgrade? Big decision.

I still have unlimited data onmy plan, if i resign for 2 years will i be forced to pay for the new data packages or can i continue on my unlimited data? If i'm forced into the new packages, Verizon wouldnt really be following what thy promote and it might be better to go with the $599.....