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updated 3/14/2011 2:10:34 PM ET 2011-03-14T18:10:34

Almost exactly four years from the date Apple announced the original iPhone, the long-rumored Verizon iPhone has become a reality. Now Verizon customers are wondering if they should get it, and AT&T customers are wondering if they should make the switch.

So, here are five reasons you should buy the Verizon iPhone and five reasons you shouldn't.

Verizon Network Is Reliable

This point should be obvious by now given the sheer amount of press and marketing that Verizon has put into it. Verizon's coverage really is more reliable nationwide, even though AT&T has been making strides to catch up. Any AT&T iPhone user who has had five calls drop in a row or who has cursed the lack of bars will instantly be attracted to an iPhone on a more reliable network.

Free Mobile Hot Spot

This feature was unexpected, but it may now be one of the most compelling reasons to buy a Verizon iPhone. The 32GB version (not 16GB) will have free mobile hot-spot functionality built in. That means it can function as a Wi-Fi hot-spot for up to five other devices. Buying a separate hot-spot device to tether to a smartphone can cost upwards of $100, and AT&T even charges an extra $30 a month for tethering. In this case, the Verizon iPhone is a deal.

Unlimited Data

AT&T infamously capped the data usage rates for iPhone users, giving them a ceiling of 2GB per month. Verizon still has an unlimited data plan, and the Verizon iPhone will be able to use it. iPhone users generally use quite a bit of data, so an unlimited plan can be a huge benefit.

New Antenna

Remember the Antennagate fiasco when the iPhone 4 was released? Things have calmed down since,  but the new Verizon iPhone has a redesigned CDMA antenna, which could mean the iPhone device itself will have better reception (that's on top of the reliability of the Verizon network).

It's the Same Phone

If you've been craving the iPhone 4's amazing features but didn't want to leave your Verizon account or pay an early termination fee, this is your new Christmas. The Verizon iPhone has all the same features to enjoy: Retina Display, FaceTime video chat, a vast app store and a simple interface.

[See also " Graphic: A Brief History of the iPhone. "]

It’s the Same Phone

By the same token, it's the same phone, so if you weren't that impressed by it to begin with or you're already happy with the AT&T network, don't get caught up in the hype about the Verizon iPhone.

Verizon Network Is Slower

While Verizon's 3G network coverage is more expansive and reliable, AT&T still has the edge on speed. In fact, in some areas AT&T has a huge lead on data speeds. For the average customer the difference may not be a big deal, but if data speed is essential to you, the AT&T iPhone will still outperform the Verizon iPhone.

No Data and Voice at the Same Time

As noted in the smug AT&T commercials of last year, Verizon phones can't talk and surf the Web at the same time. The Verizon iPhone is no exception. We don't actually know many people who absolutely need that function, but if you do, stick with AT&T.

No SIM Card

This particular detail only applies to people who are making the switch from another carrier (coming from AT&T or T-Mobile). Verizon's CDMA network doesn't use SIM cards, so changing phones isn't as easy as just plugging your SIM card into a new device. While the transition still isn't that daunting, having no SIM card is certainly less convenient, especially when traveling abroad.

The iPhone 5 Isn't Far Away

And finally, the most compelling reason not to get a Verizon iPhone is also the same reason not to buy any iPhone: A new version of the iPhone is likely coming soon. The iPhone 4 (the latest version available on AT&T and Verizon) was announced last summer and industry experts agree Apple is likely to announce the iPhone 5 this summer. That means the Verizon iPhone will become obsolete in just a few short months. Now that Verizon has a partnership with Apple, it's likely that the company will be able to offer the iPhone 5 at the same time as AT&T. If you want the best iPhone, then you're better off waiting.

© 2012 TechNewsDaily

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