Here's a bit of Verizon news we saw coming long ago: iPhone 4 customers will be required to pay an additional $20 monthly fee to use the device's built-in hotspot feature.
Is it any surprise? After all, most Verizon hotspot-capable smartphones-- save for the Palm Pre and maybe one or two others-- require consumers to shell out the extra monthly fee. The same applies for tethering a desktop or laptop to a Verizon-based 3G device.
On Wednesday Verizon Wireless Executive Director of Corporate Communications Brenda Raney confirmed the additional hotspot fee with Macworld. Raney said the feature comes packed with its own 2 GB data pack that's separate from the iPhone's unlimited data package. Data hogs who go over the hotspot's 2 GB limit will be forced to shell out another $20 for every gigabyte downloaded.
For many Verizon subscribers, that added fee may be worth it. After all, using the iPhone 4 as a portable hotspot means users can connect up to five Wi-Fi devices to the Internet simultaneously via the Apple smartphone wherever Verizon provides 3G coverage. This would be handy when out on the road using a laptop, an iPad or a handheld gaming system.
Currently AT&T doesn't offer the hotspot feature on its version of the iPhone 4. Instead, it only provides the tethering service for an additional $20 per month. But unlike Verizon, tethering has a 2 GB limit that's not separate from the $25 per month 2 GB iPhone 4 data plan. Thus, any data used via tethering will be deducted from the overall monthly limit.
Early Tuesday Verizon announced that it will still offer the $30 unlimited data plan during the iPhone 4 launch. Currently it's unknown when Verizon plans to finally integrate its impending tiered pricing model.