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Monday, January 10, 2011, 08:25 am PT (11:25 am ET)

AT&T says Verizon iPhone users will experience 'life in the slow lane'

Responding to rumors of an imminent Verizon iPhone launch, AT&T has countered by touting the speed of its network, which a recent study found to be 20 percent to 60 percent faster than competitors.

AT&T made an official comment as impending Verizon iPhone announcement is expected this week. In a statement to Silicon Alley Insider, AT&T spokesman Larry Solomon noted that AT&T's wireless technology allows for faster download speeds than Verizon.

"The iPhone is built for speed, but that's not what you get with a CDMA iPhone," he said. "I'm not sure iPhone users are ready for life in the slow lane."

In November, an independent test from Global Wireless Solutions found that AT&T's network is 60 percent faster than its chief competitor, Verizon. However, Verizon has a larger 3G coverage area across the U.S. than AT&T, a fact that Verizon pushed in its "There's a map for that" campaign in late 2009.

Verizon has scheduled a media event in New York City on Tuesday, where it is expected to announce a new CDMA iPhone that is compatible with its wireless network. The handset is expected to launch later this month, coinciding with employee vacation blackout restrictions imposed in Apple's retail stores and first reported by AppleInsider.

The Verizon iPhone is expected to be a current-generation iPhone 4, offering the same features as the phone currently available exclusively from AT&T. But photos and video leaked earlier this month have suggested that the new CDMA handset could also feature a tweaked antenna design.

For more, see AppleInsider's ongoing coverage leading up to Tuesday's anticipated Verizon iPhone Event.