Talking tech since 2003

By now I’m sure you’ve heard that Verizon now sells and supports an Apple iPhone compatible with their mobile network.  This development, which unfolded in the last month, has been big for a number of reasons.  First off, it has axed the need for what seemed like constant rumors about the availability of a Verizon iPhone.  But more importantly, Verizon’s carrying the iPhone has given users who previously contracted and stayed with AT&T solely because of their choke-hold on the iPhone the ability to choose between two networks (in the United States) for the first time since the iPhone’s debut.

However, the long-awaited arrival of the iPhone on the Verizon network has not been all that we had originally anticipated it to be.  After more than three years of eagerly waiting, many people were excited at the fact that they could use a network that they thought would have faster mobile broadband speeds.  After all, Verizon had launched a number of huge advertising campaigns in order to promote their network as being stronger and more reliable than that of AT&T.  However, now that Verizon iPhone’s are finally in the hands of end-users, there is one small problem.  They’re not anywhere near as fast as people expected them to be.

You see, Wired Magazine is now reporting that after a number of tests, Ookla – the creators of the SpeedTest bandwidth testing service – have compiled data from both AT&T and Verizon iPhone customers and has come to the conclusion that Verizon’s mobile network isn’t any faster than that of AT&T.  We’re not talking a small difference either; the test results are showing that download speeds on the Verizon network are half of the speeds on the AT&T network, with upload speeds proving to be less than impressive as well.

While this is definitely sad, I am personally not all that surprised that Verizon’s implementation of the iPhone is less than satisfactory.  Having said this, Verizon had released their plans on handling the iPhone’s traffic prior to the device being sold on their network, and in a previous article I pointed out that their somewhat drastic bandwidth-freeing policies suggested that they doubted their capability to handle the iPhone’s traffic.  Now that we’re seeing slower than expected network speeds, it is becoming evident that Verizon knew that their infrastructure was less than sufficient, yet took on the iPhone anyway.

If this is indeed the case and Verizon knowingly bit off more than they could chew, they could stand to be in a worse position than AT&T, who has previously been looked down upon for their own handling of the iPhone.  You see, at least AT&T can say that they weren’t prepared for the iPhone, while Verizon has been (more or less) openly mocking AT&T for years now only to fall flat on their faces themselves.

At the end of the day, Verizon has some damage control to do.  As it stands now, Verizon’s image has been built on discrediting AT&T and promoting themselves as a more worthy wireless network.  However, now that this has proven to be false, Verizon is facing an inevitable PR fiasco – an issue I’ve previously touched on – if they cannot remedy issues fast.  Not only this, but I can easily see where individuals – and possibly even AT&T – might have justification to pursue Verizon for false advertising and defamation, respectively.

What do you think?  Do you have a Verizon iPhone?  Does it indeed feel slower on the Verizon network than on AT&T?  Let us know in the comments!

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