yeah the new LTE phones are backwards compatible with Verizon's 3G network as it has their standard cdma radio in addition to LTE and most likely will be until at least 2013 when LTE is rolled out across Verizon's entire 3G coverage area.
however, as long as you have a 4g device, you will be forced to pay for 4g, even if you don't have 4g in your area. just like with current smart phones, you pay for the level the phone is capable of, not what you actually use.
the coverage map is on verizon's website, it has very limited coverage, though. when you buy a 4g phone, you lose your 3g data rate, and get switched over to whatever rate they decide to charge for 4g. even if there's no 4g in your area, you still pay the 4g rate. AT&T makes a killing doing this very same thing, as a lot of AT&T smartphone owners are outside the 3G coverage area.
Thanks to the community for your feedback. However, there currently is no 4G data pricing except for modem devices; so no one is forced to pay for something that does not yet exist. Any future information on a new 4G data plan will be available at the website or you can sign up for email alerts. Also, when the HTC Thunderbolt 4G device is in a non 4G area, it automatically switches over to 3G. The coverage changes based upon where one is located. We will continue to expand our 4G market as time goes on. Lastly, 2G is very rare to be available most is either the 3G coverage where the 4G is not available as yet.
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