∞ iPhone 4 coming to Verizon Wireless in early February

As reported in The Loop’s live coverage of Verizon Wireless’ press event in New York City earlier today, Verizon Wireless has announced that it will make the iPhone 4 available beginning in early February. It will cost $199 for the 16GB version, $299 for the 32GB version. Data plan prices were not announced.

The iPhone 4 has been reworked to operate on Verizon’s CDMA (3G) network, a surprise to some analysts who anticipated the device would operate on Verizon’s burgeoning 4G LTE network instead. During the press conference Apple COO Tim Cook cited some “design compromises” in first-generation LTE architecture that Apple was not willing to accept as one of the reasons.

Existing Verizon customers will get first crack at the phone, which will be available exclusively to them as an online pre-order beginning February 3. Everyone else gets their chance starting on February 10, when the phone goes on sale at Verizon Wireless and Apple retail stores, along with other select Verizon retailers.

The iPhone 4 will operate the same way it does on AT&T’s network, with one potentially important exception: like other CDMA devices, the Verizon-capable iPhone 4 won’t be able to simultaneously deliver voice and data.

The Verizon-capable iPhone 4 sports all the same features Apple has lauded since its release in 2010 – FaceTime video networking, Retina Display, A4 chip architecture and 5MP video-capable camera with flash – along with a feature that’s exclusive to Verizon called Personal Hotspot.

Personal Hotspot, which operates over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB tethering, enables up to five devices to share the iPhone 4’s data connection.