Verizon customers who buy the new CDMA iPhone will find the carrier's custom 3G Mobile Hotspot application preinstalled, offering the ability to share a 3G data connection with up to five devices. The carrier will also offer access to other applications on the App Store like VZ Navigator and V CAST Media Manager.
Update: Though Verizon characterized the feature as an application, it is actually built in to a new version of iOS, called 4.2.5, that is found on the CDMA iPhone. It is possible that the feature could come to other carriers with the same update.
Currently, iPhone 4 customers on AT&T (and other carriers around the globe) must tether their iPhone to a laptop or compatible device via Bluetooth or USB. AT&T first enabled tethering last June after numerous delays, at a cost of $20 per month.
When asked if AT&T would offer a similar mobile hotspot application in the future, a company spokesman said they would not speculate on what they company may or may not do in the future.
While the Verizon hotspot will give it an advantage over AT&T, and allow tethering with devices like the Wi-Fi-only iPad, the company's CDMA network also has one major shortcoming that AT&T was quick to note: It is not capable of concurrent data and voice connections.
AT&T's HSDPA network allows users to browse the Web or load up applications via its 3G network while on a call, but Verizon's CDMA network does not. That also means that the 3G Wi-Fi hotspot feature would be disabled when a call comes in on the new iPhone.