Ina Fried

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Verizon’s iPhone Picture Comes Into Focus

Although it doesn’t go on sale for another couple of weeks, potential customers for the Verizon iPhone now have nearly all the details they need to decide if the phone is right for them.
That wasn’t the case when Verizon introduced the phone in New York a fortnight ago.

The company said how much the device would cost ($199 or $299, depending on capacity, with a new two-year contract), but was cagey about other details, such as monthly service costs.

We now know, though, that the company will offer a $30 unlimited data plan for the iPhone, similar to that offered for other 3G smartphones, although it still plans to move away from unlimited plans, so there is no telling how long the plan will last. Verizon also said it will charge the same price for the hotspot feature ($20 for 2GB) that it charges for most other smartphones that can act as a wireless hotspot. The hotspot feature is the main distinguishing characteristic of the Verizon iPhone, which in most other respects resembles its AT&T sibling. Even more details on service plan pricing were briefly available on Apple’s site, for those that want to check out voice plans and text messaging rates.

Verizon has also outlined its policies, including who is eligible for an upgrade and what its exchange policy will be for recently purchased devices.

There are still a few unknowns, such as the voice quality of the phone and how Verizon’s well-regarded network will hold up amid the crush of new iPhones hitting the network. And it likely will be a crush. Some analysts have predicted the company could sell 11 million iPhones out of the gate, something that the company on Tuesday’s earnings conference call said was a reasonable forecast.