Verizon Wireless customers finally get the iPhone.

Well, we all knew it was coming. Literally… The Wall Street Journal has been predicting it over an over. I suppose they figured if they just kept naming dates, they’d get it right eventually. Verizon will begin selling the iPhone 4 starting on February 10th, with pre-orders starting on February 3rd. Verizon’s iPhone 4 will sell for $199 for the 16 GB version and $299 for the 32 GB version. Those prices, of course, require a 2-year contract and a required data plan.

The big news so far is that Verizon’s iPhone will include hotspot functionality, allowing users to connect up to 5 devices via Wi-Fi powered by the iPhone itself. The details are scant at this point, but I suspect that using your iPhone as a hotspot will require an additional monthly fee on top of the required data plan.¬†How exciting is this capability? Not very exciting at all, in my opinion, when you consider that Verizon’s iPhone will only connect to Verizon’s CDMA network which apparently has much slower data speeds than those of AT&T. It will be interesting to hear user reactions when the phones actually start to hit the street. So far we only have numbers on paper and a little chuckle provided by AT&T’s marketing department when they cleverly tweeted that they didn’t think that iPhone users were ready to leave the fast lane.

Another HUGE drawback to the Verizon iPhone being stuck on their CDMA network is that it can’t handle data and voice simultaneously. Want to look up a movie time while you’re on the phone with a friend trying to plan a get together? Forget about it. Well, you can try to forget about it, but I suspect AT&T will remind us about it all the time.

Still… I’m excited that another carrier has the phone now. I know there are people out there who are tied to Verizon for one reason or another and will be happy to have access to the iPhone. More importantly, I’m hopeful that a little competition will give AT&T a little kick in the pants. Maybe they’ll finally unlock tethering for iPhone users or get a little competitive with their pricing plans. Beefing up their network for smartphone users wouldn’t hurt either.