Verizon has something called "Verizon Edge" It allows you to upgrade your phone whenever you want. So I think you get a discount for having your own phone. I'd look into that.
By the way, Verizon has the best 4G coverage BY FAR. You'll be happy with the speed and coverage. It will just suck to have limited data. Luckily I'm still grandfathered into my unlimited data plan running the Galaxy Note 3.
For comparison, Sprint just unveiled their new shiny 4G LTE network here. I'm currently roaming 3G on VZW and my data speeds beat Sprint's new LTE garbage. Not to mention signal penetration, at work I can hardly even talk on the phone unless I'm roaming on VZW.
So, solely for reception purposes I'm going VZW, it's pretty much a necessity.
I will ask about the Edge when I sign up, thanks for the heads up!