FAQ: What you need to know about the Verizon iPhone 4

The Apple smartphone has some variations for its new U.S. network compared to what's available for AT&T

After years of rumors, there finally really is a version of the iPhone that runs on Verizon Wireless's network. Verizon announced today that the iPhone 4 will be available begining Feb. 10. In most respects, it's the same iPhone 4 that AT&T has sold since last summer. But there are some differences in the phone as well as in the Verizon network and capabilities.

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Q: What networks does the Verizon iPhone 4 run on?

A: Verizon's CDMA 3G network. It will not take advantage of the faster LTE 4G networks that Verizon has begun rolling out. It also will not work on the GSM networks used in most other countries, so it cannot function as a "world phone."

Q: What models will Verizon offer?
A: It will sell the 16GB iPhone 4 for $199 (with a two-year contract) and the 32GB iPhone 4 for $299 (also with a two-year contract).

Q: Can I use my move my existing iPhone 4 to Verizon?
A: No. The devices use different radios, so to switch from AT&T to Verizon means getting a new iPhone. Likewise, if you're visiting the U.S. from another country and have an existing iPhone, you can only use AT&T (if you get an AT&T SIM) as your carrier while visiting. Through iTunes, you can transfer all your existing AT&T iPhone's music, vdeos, and apps to a Verizon iPhone.

Q: Will current iPhone 4 peripherals work with the Verizon model?
A: Most will, but some cases may not fit the Verizon iPhone. That's because the metal sides of the iPhone are its antenna, and Apple made some changes to the antenna to accommodate the CDMA network's radio characteristics. In doing so, the ringer switch was moved up a tad on the Verizon iPhone, so cutouts for it in existing cases and skins are likely to at least partially cover the switch. That appears to be the only physical design change in the Verizon iPhone 4, but until actual models are available for testing, other peripherals -- particularly cases and skins -- can't be guaranteed to fit properly. Headphones, docks, and other devices that use the iPhone ports (as well as those that connect via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi) should be unaffected, though.

Q: Can I use the phone and data services simultaneously on a Verizon iPhone?
A: No. The CDMA technology used by Verizon allows only one service -- data or voice -- to  be active. There are technologies that allow CDMA networks to allow simultaneous voice and data usage, but Verizon has not deployed them.

Q: Does the Verizon iPhone 4 do anything an AT&T one does not?
A: Yes.The Verizon iPhone 4 comes with a HotSpot app that lets the iPhone act as a Wi-Fi hot spot, so as many as five other devices can access the 3G network through it. However, it's unknown whether this tethering capability will require an extra cost to be used.

Q: What data plans does Verizon offer for the iPhone 4?
A: Unknown. Verizon has not yet revealed its data plans. Currently, the company offers a $15-per-month plan with 150MB of data usage and a $30-per-month plan with unlimited usage (well, subject to vague "reasonable usage" parameters).

Q: When can I actually get an iPhone 4 from Verizon?
A: February 10 is when they will first be available in stores and for delivery. Existing Verizon customers can begin placing orders on February 3 to get first in line for their units.

Q: Is there a CDMA version of the iPad available from Verizon as well?
A: No. For now at least, Verizon is selling the Wi-FI-only models of the iPad, so you need a 3G hot spot device such as a MiFi or Verizon iPhone to connect it to the Internet. (The iPad connects to the hot spot device over Wi-Fi, and the hot spot device gets Internet access via 3G.) But a Verizon executive has told Bloomberg that a CDMA-compatible iPad is coming, though he gave no details as to when.

This article, "FAQ: What you need to know about the Verizon iPhone 4," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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