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Happy Verizon iPhone Day!

Tim Beyers
January 11, 2011

Time to celebrate. After years of suffering spotty and often poor wireless service at the hands of AT&T (NYSE: T  ) , beginning next month I'll have the option of owning an iPhone built for Verizon's (NYSE: VZ  ) wireless network.

But will the switch be worth my while? Honestly, I'm not sure. Let's review what Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) newest handset can do.

First, the new iPhone won't be a 4G device. Instead, it'll include a classic CMDA chipset, which means no using voice and data at the same time.

On the plus side, Verizon will allow a fairly extreme form of tethering in the new iPhone. Verizon said it would allow as many as five Wi-Fi devices to access the phone's data connection. Unfortunately, neither company would confirm data pricing.

Strip away the platitudes and other hullabaloo, and what you really have is the same iPhone Apple is selling to everyone else, optimized for Verizon's network. Judging by the reaction to the news on my Twitter feed, that'll likely be enough.

Before you hand over that cash ...
Yet detractors remain. Foolish colleague David Williamson says no amount of dropped calls will ever get him be a Verizon customer again. Those who switch may be in for a shock, he argues:

Imagine the worst customer experience you've ever had. Then, imagine the customer service rep punching you in the face during your visit to the store. In my experience, that's what a good interaction with Verizon amounts to -- you don't want to experience a bad one.