Verizon iPhone vs. AT&T iPhone

FRESNO, Calif.

The news has Verizon customers excited, but there are still plenty of questions about what Apple's partnership with Verizon means for smart phone owners.

Starting February 3rd Verizon's iPhone will be available to current customers for online order.

On the 10th the Apple device will be available to new customers and those looking to use this smartphone on a different cell network.

AT&T no longer has exclusive rights to the iPhone. Tuesday Apple and Verizon confirmed rumors the smartphone would be available on a second cellular carrier.

"We're happy to have this device as part of our lineup to give customers the choice they're looking for," said Fresno Verizon district manager Scott Schwantes.

Schwantes said customers are already showing up to purchase the iPhone which is not available until February and even AT&T users are inquiring how to switch.

To the unsuspecting eye the phone looks the same ... same size, same apps.

However Verizon promises a feature that turns the iPhone 4 into a WiFi hotspot, which allows other people to use your phone to access the web. Verizon also promises more reliability with the iPhone, no dropped or lost calls.

Schwantes: "We offer the largest 3G network and our network reliability is tested time and time again and has come through on top and that's really what we're able to offer and it's a big differentiator."

But switching your iPhone service won't come cheap. AT&T customers will have to buy a brand new iPhone from Verizon which starts at $199 and pay AT&T a $325 fee for breaking the contract.

"They're trying to create fear. People are getting to the point where they say, 'Leave me alone," said Fresno State Marketing Professor Dr. Bill Rice.

Rice does not believe Verizon is doing enough to separate itself from AT&T.

Rice: "I think they're fighting it out in who's covering the most and who's got the fastest. It gets to the point where outside of those twenty people who live in north Montana 'Who cares?'"

Verizon offers the iPhone on their CDMA network ... that means users will not be able to talk and surf the web at the same time.

An official with Verizon told me they have their eye on providing that feature soon.

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