Apple said Wednesday that it would kick off online sales of the Verizon Wireless iPhone on Feb. 9, a day before the device hits its store shelves.
Apple's Web sales launch of the highly-anticipated phone will follow Verizon's online sales of a limited number of iPhones to its existing mobile customers starting at 3 a.m. ET Feb. 3 for delivery on or before Feb. 10.
Apple said people ordering the phone on Feb. 9 can have it delivered or reserve it for an in-store pickup Feb. 10, when both companies plan to start offering the phone in their stores a 7 a.m. local time. Verizon Wireless is a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc.
It will be the second U.S. operator to offer iPhone after AT&T more than three years of exclusive rights to the popular device.
Meanwhile, Wednesday, Verizon Wireless revealed details of how much it will charge iPhone users for voice, text and data service.
Verizon said a basic voice plan including 450 minutes per month will cost $40.
A voice and text plan including unlimited text messages will start at $60 per month. And a separate data plan for getting e-mail and the Web will cost $30 per month. That's the same price Verizon charges customers for surfing the Web on other smart phones, such as the Droid 2 by Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.
Verizon said that customers will also be able to use the iPhone as a Wi-Fi hotspot for an extra $20 per month — a feature AT&T does not offer iPhone users. Verizon's pricing plans are as expected.
AT&T, which has sold the iPhone since 2007, takes a similar approach as Verizon in that it offers the same data plans to iPhone customers that it does the rest of its smart phone subscribers.
Like Verizon, it sells a $40 voice plan that includes 450 minutes.
But AT&T's $60 voice plan does not include unlimited text messages.
And whereas Verizon's $30 data plan includes unlimited data usage, AT&T's $25 plan allows subscribers to consume up to 2GB per month — enough, the company says, to stream music, watch videos and use potentially bandwidth-hogging applications.
AT&T also offers a data plan that costs $15 a month, but because it caps data usage at 200MB a month, it recommends it to people who primarily want to surf the Web, check e-mail and use social networking sites, all of which require less bandwidth than streaming music or video.
Like AT&T, Verizon will charge either $200 or $300 for the phone itself — with a two-year contract — depending on whether shoppers choose 16GB or 32GB of memory in the phone for storing music, apps and photos.