Long lines form for new Verizon iPhone


San Francisco users are hoping this new phone improves iPhone service if it means that fewer people will be clogging up AT&T's network. The consensus from many local iPhone users is that they love the iPhone, but hate the service.

The doors open early at 7 a.m., but workers at the Verizon store on Market Street are bracing for lines before the sun even comes up.

"We are expecting people to line up at wee hours of the morning and we are expecting it to be nuts," said Krysten Gregg, the Verizon store manager.

It could be as nuts as the worst kept secret in the tech world -- Verizon's iPhone launch. The phone goes on sale this week and many smart phone users have one word to say..."finally!"

"I came in to move from AT&T to Verizon," said James Roten, a San Francisco iPhone customer.

AT&T has been the exclusive carrier of the Apple iPhone and in San Francisco AT&T has become synonymous with dropped calls and complaints about service. Roten can't wait to make the switch.

"Their service is horrible, it's absolutely horrible. I can't tell you how many times a day my calls get dropped," said Roten.

"People have really looked to Verizon's as sort of the answer to their prayers," said Kent German, a CNET senior editor.

This cell phone columnist is testing the phone for a review and his take so far is that it is better.

"In our testing at CNET we found that the Verizon phone for right now does make better calls, connects faster, it can connect to more calls," said German.

But as to whether a Verizon iPhone will mean less demand on AT&T's network and therefore fewer dropped calls, German said it's too early to tell. It may also be too early to tell whether there will even be enough Verizon iPhones to go around on Thursday morning.

"People want to know will we have them in stock and will they be able to rely on our network? The answer is they will be able to rely on our network, absolutely," said Gregg. When asked if they will have them in stock, she said, "I'm not sure. We're excited to sell them like hotcakes."

So what might happen to Verizon's service if people line up to buy the new iPhone? Will all the new users flood the system as many say it has with AT&T? German said Verizon has likely learned from AT&T's mistakes and won't let that happen.

However, even if you wait in line, you may not be able to walk away with the phone. There's another catch -- iPhone users under contract with AT&T will have to pay to switch to Verizon service, and it may cost up to $325.

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