Verizon Finally Gets the iPhone [Updated]

Verizon finally put an end to the rumors that it will carry Apple’s iPhone 4 on Tuesday with the announcement that the combination iPod and smartphone will be available in early February. The cell service provider made the announcement at a special media event in New York City.

It’s finally coming: The Verizon iPhone

The Verizon-compatible iPhone departs from the model that’s available from AT&T and other carriers around the world because it supports CDMA technology. All other iPhone models ever shipped only support GSM wireless technology, which isn’t compatible with Verizon’s CDMA network.

Verizon dropped a surprise on potential customers by announcing that it will offer MiFi-style tethering for the iPhone, which means customers won’t have to rely on Bluetooth or USB cables to share their wireless data connection with up to five devices over Wi-Fi. In comparison, AT&T’s limited tethering support supports connecting only a single device.

The company isn’t talking about data plan pricing yet, or how much customers will pay per month for their voice contracts.

In addition to confirming rumors that Apple has been working on a CDMA-based iPhone 4, the announcement also heralds the end of AT*T’s exclusive carrier agreement with Apple. AT&T was the first iPhone partner when the original model launched, and until now has been Apple’s only partner in the U.S.

Verizon will offer the CDMA-compatible iPhone first as a pre-order to its current customers starting on February 3, then on February 10 will open up for all potential customers. It will be priced at US$199.99 for the 16GB model, and $299.99 for the 32GB model with a two-year contract.

[Thanks to SlashGear and PCMag for early details.]