iPhone 4 coming to Verizon – officially

After years of rumors, speculation and pining, Verizon finally has the iPhone. Iphone-verizon

The company made the formal announcement Tuesday, confirming that the top smartphone on the market will be available to its customers in early March, ending AT&T’s long run of exclusivity with the device.

Existing customers will be able to preorder their iPhone 4s beginning Feb. 3. Everyone will be able to buy one in stores a week later on Feb. 10. Pricing for the phones will run $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for 32GB – both with a two-year contract. The phones will include mobile hotspot service, letting the iPhone act as an internet bridge for up to 5 devices.

“If the press write something long enough, eventually it comes true,” said Lowell McAdam, president and COO of Verizon. “Our relationship with Apple has developed over the last two years. In 2008 we started talking about bringing the iPhone to a CDMA network. We spent a year testing. … Late in 2010 we started offering the iPad… today, we are extremely gratified to announce that the iPhone 4 will be available early next month.

The device will work with Verizon’s existing CDMA network – rather than the 4G LTE network, which is still rolling out. The companies did not discuss future plans, but it is widely expected future versions of the phone will work with that network.

“This is just the beginning of a relationship between Apple and Verizon,” said Apple’s COO Tim Cook. “I’m very optimistic about what the future holds.”

The agreement between the two companies is non-exclusive, which could open the door for other carriers to get the iPhone in months to move. Meanwhile, Verizon didn’t hesitate to take jabs at AT&T’s historical spotty coverage issues in making today’s announcement.

“”iPhone 4 is going to run on our network … we have advanced the capacity and built margin into it. We’re ready for this launch,” said Verizon’s Dan Dee.