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Verizon to finally sell and activate Google Nexus 7 LTE tablets, starting Feb. 13

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Google’s Nexus 7 tablet with LTE arrives on the Verizon Wireless network just in time for Valentine’s Day. On Monday, the carrier announced the Android(s goog) tablet launches on Feb. 13 for $349 or can be had for $249 with a new two-year agreement. The slate can be added to an existing Share Everything plan for $10 per month. Although it’s a new device for Verizon(s vz)(s vod) to sell directly, some customers already purchased the Nexus 7 with LTE as the tablet debuted in July of last year. Verizon says it will allow those customers to finally activate their tablets for LTE service, which is a big deal.

Nexus 7 display up close

In November, noted journalist Jeff Jarvis filed a complaint with the FCC because Verizon wouldn’t activate the Nexus 7 tablet he paid for outright. The issue was two-fold: Google actually announced Verizon compatibility when the Nexus launched and under terms of the 700 MHz spectrum auction, Verizon is supposed to allow any certified device on its LTE network.

Here’s an excerpt from Jarvis’s complaint:

“I write to follow up on my complaint filed with the Commission regarding Verizon Wireless’ continued refusal to connect my Google Nexus 7 LTE tablet to its network as required by the openness clause of the Block C spectrum sale and your Bureau’s consent decree with the company in July 2012.

I went to a Verizon store in Bridgewater, NJ, this weekend and was told that the device still could not be activated and added to my existing data account. Verizon Wireless is thus in continued and flagrant violation of the spirit and letter of its agreements with the FCC and is also in violation of its own statements and assurances to the public.”

Verizon said that Asus — which builds the tablet for Google — submitted the Nexus 7 for certification last August. If true, it took roughly six months for Verizon to certify the device, which is far too long.

At this point, I’d be surprised if Verizon sells many Nexus 7 devices; there are already reports of a new Nexus tablet in the works, one that might be slightly larger at 8-inches in size. Verizon is also selling its own branded tablet called the Ellipsis 7, which is a lower cost, less capable device. That tablet runs on Android 4.2.2, which is interesting: Verizon told Jarvis it was waiting for Android 4.4 on the Nexus 7 due to system issues.

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