Phone: 800-256-4646

Web: www.verizonwireless.com

Type: Digital (CDMA) with analog backup

SERVICE PLANS:

"DigitalChoice"

$39.99: 400 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 45 cents/minute.

$59.99: 700 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 40 cents/minute.

Long-distance adds 20 cents/minute. No roaming charges in Virginia, Maryland (excluding western half), Delaware and northeast tip of North Carolina; elsewhere, add 69 cents/minute. Unlimited calling to other Verizon Wireless phones in home rate area.

"America's Choice"

$39.99: 400 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 45 cents/minute.

$59.99: 800 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 40 cents/minute.

No roaming or long-distance charges on Verizon Wireless network; elsewhere, add 69 cents/minute. Unlimited calling to other Verizon Wireless phones on Verizon network.

"Digital Choice Family Share"

$59.99: 400 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 45 cents/minute extra

$79.99: 700 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 40 cents/minute extra (45 cents/minute on secondary phones)

Plans cover two phones; additional phones, up to four total, add $20 each. Long-distance adds 20 cents/minute. No roaming charges in Virginia, Maryland (excluding western half), Delaware and northeast tip of North Carolina; elsewhere, add 69 cents/minute. Unlimited calling to other Verizon Wireless phones in home rate area.

"America's Choice Family Share"

$59.99: 400 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 45 cents/minute.

$79.99: 800 anytime minutes, unlimited night/weekend minutes, then 40 cents/minute (45 cents/minute on secondary phones).

Plans cover two phones; additional phones, up to four total, add $20 each. No roaming or long-distance charges on Verizon Wireless network; elsewhere, add 69 cents/minute. Unlimited calling to other Verizon Wireless phones on Verizon network.

Messaging/Web/etc.

Text messages cost 2 cents each incoming, 10 cents each outgoing, or $2.99 for 100 messages, $4.99 for 250 messages, $9.99 for 1,000 messages or $19.99 for 2,500. Picture and video messages cost extra. "Mobile Web" access costs $7.99 (including 500 text messages); download speeds up to 144 kbps.

Walkie-talkie service available between compatible phones, with plans starting at $59.99.

Fine print

One-year contract required, but can change plans without penalty. 15-day trial. "Night/weekend" means 9:01 p.m.-5:59 a.m. Mon.-Fri. and 9:01 p.m. Fri.-5:59 a.m. Mon. Prepaid "FreeUp" service available, starting at $15 for 30 days and $75 for 90 days (10 cents/minute, plus 25 cents/call).

Smartphones offered

BlackBerry 6750 and 7750, PalmOne Treo 600, Kyocera 7135, Samsung i600 and i700

Real-world cost estimates (See below for explanation)

1: Light use (30 minutes): $39.99

2: Moderate use (three hours): $39.99

3: Heavy use (eight hours): $39.99

4: Land-line replacement (20 hours): $59.99

5: Chatty couple (six hours, two phones): $59.99

REVIEWER'S NOTES:

Verizon's almost-perfect coverage earned it a close second to Nextel; we heard minor scratchiness during some calls and ran into one outright ugly spot in the Sterling area. The network outages we found last year were apparently just that.

-- J.B. II