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Verizon iPhone: Buying Tips, Terms of Purchase, Service Plans, Prices – Everything

For Verizon Wireless subscribers who have been waiting to get their hands on iPhone 4, the wait is officially over. As of today, reserved quantitiy of the Apple handset is available to Verizon customers for pre-order today from the carrier’s website.

In addition, the handset is also being offered through the online Apple Store, at Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. Verizon iPhone is being offered for pre-order on a first come, first served basis and quantities are limited.

Existing subscribers are advised to check their upgrade eligibility first. A trade-in program is also available for those wishing to trade in their old handset, regardless of carrier (this also includes the iPhone from AT&T).

Joining forces with Verizon, Apple yesterday communicated the offering with a press release. For everyone else "looking for a new beginning," Verizon iPhone will be available online next Wednesday, February 9. The following day, the handset will be available at select retail partners, the carrier’s 2,000 brick-and-mortar stores and by calling 1-800-2 JOIN IN.

The carrier is offering buyer’s remorse program for its subscribers who purchased and activated new smartphones, feature phones or certified pre-owned phones between December 26, 2010 January 10, 2011.

In this case, they are eligible to receive up to a $200 Visa debit card when they purchase an iPhone 4 at full retail price February 28  and return their existing phone.

Like on AT&T, Verizon iPhone is available for $199 for the 16GB model ($299 for the 32GB model) after a two-year service contract that includes an obligatory voice and data plan. Messaging plan is optional. Verizon’s plans are similar to those of AT&T. For $40 a month, you get the basic voice plan that includes 450 Anytime Minutes. 

Other options include $60 a month for 900 Anytime Minutes and $70 a month for unlimited calling. Text messages costs 20 cents per text or 30 cents per picture or video (MMS). Bulk messages are also available for $5/$10/$20 a month for 250/500/unlimited text messages.

All voice plans come with Visual Voicemail, unlimited calling to other Verizon Wireless customers and unlimited night & weekend minutes. Verizon Wireless Family SharePlans are also available for up to five lines through both Apple Retail Stores and Verizon Wireless.

These plans include 700 minutes for $70 a month, 1,400 minutes for $90 a month, 2,000 minutes for $100 a month and nationwide unlimited calling for $120 a month. Unlimited data plan costs $30 a month, but bear in mind this won’t last forever because Verizon has said it would eventually kill unlimited data in favor of metered plans, like AT&T did last year. Due to limitations of CDMA radio technology, Verizon iPhone users are unable to use data while on a call.

The carrier is treating prospective buyers with a wireless tethering option. Called Personal Hotspot and found in iOS 4.2.6, this feature allows up to five WiFi devices to connect to Verizon’s 3G network through your handset. This includes WiFi-enabled notebooks and mobile devices, including the iPod touch and iPad.

Wireless tethering requires the $50 a month data plan and isn’t supported on the basic $30 a month unlimited data. Bear in mind that Personal Hotspot is capped to 2GB a month. Additionally, when using Personal Hotspot, all data – including data accessed on your iPhone – will count against your 2GB monthly allowance.

Should you exceed this monthly allowance, Verizon will charge you $20 per gigabyte spent using wireless tethering. AT&T subscribers may want to check those deals against their carrier’s prices, included in the below chart, in order to make in informed decision about eventual switching.