The Verizon iPhone 4: What you need to know
Welcome, future Verizon iPhoneographers.
After years of rumors, the iPhone 4 has finally come to the Verizon network here in the US. The rumors have been floating around for a couple of years, but quite honestly I didn’t hold any stock in them until I read details about the very significant and very quiet upgrade Verizon gave its network in Austin, Texas in the middle of 2010. Hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Thinking about getting a Verizon iPhone? Here’s what we know after today’s Verizon iPhone event.
Verizon will be selling two models of the iPhone 4 — the 16 GB model for $199 and the 32 GB model for $299 with a two-year service agreement and a Verizon datapak. You’ll be able to purchase the device for full price without the service agreement.
No iPhone 3GS is available through Verizon. No surprise there.
The datapak is an additional $30/month and includes FREE TETHERING — What Verizon are calling “Mobile HotSpot” — for up to five devices. Cool! Are you paying attention, AT&T?
Existing Verizon customers can pre-order here. With the huge demand for the iPhone 4 on AT&T and how quickly the device sold out even for pre-order, I highly recommend you pre-order now if you’re interested. Wait times for those who missed out on the original iPhone 4 launch were 2-3 weeks. You’ll also be able to purchase and activate a Verizon iPhone at Apple Stores.
The Verizon iPhone 4 is a CDMA device. That’s a different network than the AT&T 3G network, which uses HSPA/UMTS technology (High Speed Packet Access/Universal Mobile Telephone System).
You won’t be able to use your AT&T iPhone 4 on the Verizon network and vice versa.
The CDMA iPhone 4 is not going to be exclusive to Verizon. Hmmm….
Verizon’s iPhone 4 only works on Verizon Wireless’ 3G network. This incarnation of the Verizon iPhone does not support Verizon’s spoony new 4G LTE high speed network.
According to a story on TUAW, the Verizon iPhone 4 “will not be able to handle voice and data at the same time.” This is a limitation of Verizon’s CDMA network. According to the post, an incoming phone call will interrupt the data connection.
Here’s a very recent speed test comparing the Verizon iPhone and the AT&T iPhone on their 3G networks. Both providers have made great improvements in the bandwidth of their networks. The Verizon network got speeds of 1.73 Mbps down and 340 Kbps up, “considerably better than the 780 Kbps down and 50 Kbps up” from AT&T. Keep in mind that these Verizon 3G speeds are not available in all areas yet. An earlier test puts AT&T’s 3G download speeds at about 1.41 Mbps compared to 877 kbps for Verizon. Bottom line is, your mileage will vary depending on location.
The Verizon iPhone will have the 3G Mobile Hotspot app pre-installed, and it will also have other popular apps available in the market such as VZ Navigator, and V CAST Media Manager.
The case seems to have subtle design differences. The ringer switch has moved, so existing iPhone 4 cases wonâ€™t work. The black insulator bands for the antennae have different placement on the Verizon iPhone.
The camera is the same 5 MP camera in the AT&T’s iPhone 4.
Your existing iTunes account will transfer over. You’ll have no problems syncing to the device. That’s an Apple thing, not a Verizon thing.
Currently, Verizon are offering no incentives to switch from AT&T. If you’re switching from AT&T, you’ll have to buy a new iPhone 4. You’ll also have to pay any early termination fees.
The Verizon iPhone 4 is World Phone of sorts. Users will be able to use their 4 while traveling abroad. Customers can use the iPhone for voice and text in over 40 countries with data service in over 20 countries. In contrast, AT&T users can use their iPhone to make calls on all seven continents and in more than 220 countries, with wireless data-roaming in 200 countries. Roaming is pricey, but if you’ve got to make a phone call in Antarctica, that $2.29 a minute is probably worth it.
For more info, here’s a link to the Verizon iPhone 4 FAQ page.
I can’t vouch for Verizon’s service and network, although I’ve heard good things about it. I can say that users who stayed with Verizon over the years despite a bad case of iPhone envy will absolutely love their new iPhone 4. It’s an amazing device! Have fun!