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Will a Verizon iPhone be better? Maybe

Everyone says AT&T that a Verizon iPhone will be better. But I'm not so sure.

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A Verizon iPhone
Will a Verizon iPhone be better?


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Since the introduction of the first iPhone model, AT&T has largely been blamed for the handset's variable call quality and data reception. Many CNET users, and even my colleagues, have blasted the carrier while largely exonerating Apple. What's more, we about said as much in our iPhone 3GS review.

At the same time, the hopes of many have turned to Verizon Wireless. Though Big Red has yet to announce that it will carry an iPhone, it's become a common assumption that a Verizon iPhone will be better. But I say not so fast. While the reasoning is mostly sound--a strong and often superior Verizon network should offer better performance--it's also somewhat simplistic.

When testing a carrier's network, the only constant is that there is no constant. Not all of the Verizon phones that CNET has tested have been exceptional. Similarly, we've reviewed many AT&T handsets that have surpassed the iPhone both in voice quality and 3G data reception. So I'm somewhat skeptical that a Verizon iPhone will be better simply because it's on Verizon.

We also can't forget that both the strength of the carrier's signal and the handset itself (its antenna and receiver) play a part in signal quality. Though I've had better reception when using the iPhone in Spain and the United Kingdom, it hasn't been that much better. So it's not illogical to suggest that Apple's design may be partly responsible for the performance that the iPhone presents.

Unfortunately, we won't know the success of a Verizon iPhone until the device lands at the carrier. Until that day comes--and I don't think it will until the carrier adopts LTE technology--we're just speculating. A Verizon iPhone may be better, but then again, it may not.

So what do you think? Will a Verizon iPhone be better?