iPhone 4 3G available on Verizon in early February
Today in New York Verizon announced a CDMA-based, 3G iPhone 4 will be available on their network first to current Verizon wireless customers on Feb. 3 and then to everyone else on Feb 10.
The phone primarily is the same except for changing to CDMA for compatibilty on Verizon's network. The antenna has been redesigned (more details when I have them) and one great new feature is the ability to make the iPhone 4 a WiFi hotspot accessible by up to 5 devices. Previously the only way to do this was by jailbreaking the phone and adding and an unapproved app.
The announcement ends four years of exclusivty for AT&T and the iPhone. Over that time there have been many people who loved the phone but hated the service. An iPhone owner since the first one was introduced, I haven't had issues with AT&T service at home in Tampa Bay. I did, however, experience some slowness when in New York over Thanksgiving and last week in Las Vegas. I believe some of that was due to increased network traffic at the time.
It will be interesting to see how many people jump to the iPhone on Verizon right away. With Apple poised to announce the iPhone 5 in June, which likely will be an LTE 4G phone on Verizon, those who buy the current phone will be locked-in to a new 2-year contract and unable to upgrade without paying heavy fees. It would be prudent to wait for the new phone, but I suspect many people who have been waiting for this announcement for a long time will not want to wait.
Yes, the mobile hotspot feature is a nice addition but my advice is to wait for the next version of the iPhone.