Last updated: February 3, 2011 - 9:40am
For millions of iPhone owners, or would-be iPhone owners, who dislike AT&T's wireless service or prefer Verizon Wireless service, liberation is at hand.
Starting Feb. 10, Apple's iconic smart phone finally will be available in the U.S. on a second carrier, Verizon, instead of just on AT&T, which has been the exclusive iPhone network since the device launched in 2007. Current Verizon customers can pre-order the iPhone Feb 3. Complaints about dropped voice calls, or calls that can't be initiated, on AT&T's service, especially on iPhones, have been legion. Meanwhile, Verizon has enjoyed a general reputation for reliable voice service. So, many frustrated AT&T iPhone users and those scared off by reports of dropped calls, or simply loyal to Verizon, have been eagerly anticipating this move. To these people, I'm here to say: Yes, there are some major benefits to having your iPhone on Verizon, but, as with all good things, there are also trade-offs.
What about the trade-offs? Chief among them is data speed. In speed tests, AT&T's network averaged 46% faster at download speeds and 24% faster at upload speeds. This speed difference was noticeable while doing tasks like downloading large numbers of emails, or waiting for complicated Web pages to load. AT&T's speeds varied more while Verizon's were more consistent, but overall, AT&T was more satisfying at cellular data. Also, because Verizon's iPhone -- like most other Verizon phones -- doesn't work on the world-wide GSM mobile-phone standard, you can't use it in most countries outside the US. Finally, the Verizon model can't fetch Internet data at the same time it is making a voice call, something the AT&T model can do.
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