As expected, Verizon announced today that the iPhone is finally coming to the Verizon network. Current customers will be able to pre-order on February 3rd. The rest of us can place our orders on February 10th. As with AT&T, the 16GB model of the iPhone 4 is priced at $199 and the 32 GB model at $299. (The price of the older iPhone 3GS, available only with AT&T, was dropped to $49 yesterday.)Verizon hasn’t announced plan pricing yet, but it will most likely use the same plans as for their other smartphones. If this is the case an unlimited data plan will cost $29.99 per month and a 150 MB plan will cost $15 per month. AT&T discontinued their unlimited plan last year and now offers a 2GB plan for $25 per month and a 200MB plan for $15 per month.
The AT&T iPhone supports tethering for $45 per month with a 2 GB limit for all data, whether it originates from your iPhone or your tethered computer. The Verizon iPhone will be able to act as a wireless hotspot, supporting up to five devices. While no price has been announced, it will surely be cheaper than buying separate data plans for your iPad, your laptop, etc.
As with all Verizon phones, the new iPhone uses Verizon’s CDMA network. Verizon is extremely adamant that they have the network capacity to support an influx of iPhone users with unlimited data plans. The Verizon network has wider 3G coverage in the U.S., but does not support international roaming, as AT&T’s GSM-based iPhone does. CDMA also does not support simultaneous voice and data transmissions: when a call comes in, your data connection is interrupted. This usually isn’t a big deal because it’s hard to talk on the phone while browsing the web on that same device, but it will be a substantially greater inconvenience if you’re using your phone as a mobile hotspot, and your laptop’s connection is interrupted every time a call comes in.
If you’re considering a new Verizon iPhone, there’s one more thing to consider: the iPhone 5 will most likely be released this summer. If you purchase an iPhone 4 in February, you may end up waiting two years for your contract to expire.
(Rock The Capital’s Tom Owad covers technology)
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