I have yet to see it to be a 3g issue. It matters where I am and the coverage there. It's like horse racing to me. My buddy's iPhone will win a browser drag race one place and I'll win somewhere else. I bet this will drive those shopping crazy.
As to measuring the data use. All the majors have a web page to check what we use. And that's what I use. SMS is not in my data use. While this may vary with the plan, most split that use over minutes, number of texts and "data".
Yes. Such things differentiate the phones. Some fall for the most GHz of the CPU. Some fall for "more cores in the CPU". You're never sure what will push a would be buyer from looking to buying. In fact, you ask a lot of good questions that have no firm answers for very good reasons. Some were easy such as more users in the area slowing the network. It's usually not an issue because most of the users are not doing much. However if all of them wanted to see the latest video on something the answer changes.
I currently have a basic cell phone with no data plan. I am considering upgrading to a smart-phone with a data plan when my current contract expires. Currently, these are the points about which I am interested in learning more:
• What affects the speed I ultimately experience as a user? Are the speeds for 3G or 4G the same (not is 3G = 4G) regardless of mobile provider? Is Verizon's 3G as fast as AT&T's 3G, for example? Is speed a function of the phone/device so that someone using a top of the line Android experiences 3G faster than someone does using a cheaper smart-phone, even from the same provider? Is speed impacted by the amount of users on the network?
• When it comes to data usage, could someone define MB/GB in a way that's easy to understand? When I get 700 anytime minutes, I can measure/track how much I use. But, what does MB/GB translate into that's easy to understand? Do text messages/emails sent/received figure into the data calculations?
• What differentiates one smart-phone from another? Call clarity, quality of camera, video capability, etc?
Are there other factors I should be thinking about that I have not mentioned? Whatever feedback anyone could provide I would greatly appreciate.