Theorize all you want, but your answer's right here. From the horse's mouth: "Keep in mind that for Verizon Wireless, it isn't so much about the device as it is about the delivery."
These are the words of a Verizon spokesperson, who is apparently comfortable acknowledging that Verizon's entire phone-choosing strategy is based on a false dilemma: That somehow, having a good network makes it impossible to have decent handsets, and vice-versa. But if having great coverage doesn't actually prevent Verizon from selling any of the smartphones that people actually want, how do they make it seem like it does?
It's easy, really! Just combine a strict, long handset testing process, extreme caution about new handset technologies, and a history of intrusively modifying both phone software and hardware to maintain obsessive control over its devices, and voila! Boredom. [Gadget Lab]