Verizon Wireless customers can expect a high-speed Apple iPhone sooner or later, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg suggested at an April 6 press conference.
"It's [Apple's] call," Seidenberg said, according to Reuters. "Eventually it's our view we'll get to carrying Apple."
Seidenberg reportedly went on to say that he'd ideally like a version of the iPhone that can support 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) technology. Verizon has confirmed that it will soon begin rolling out its 4G network and plans to cover approximately 100 million people, across 25 to 30 markets, by the end of 2010.
Seidenberg's comments added fuel to a fire sparked long ago but most recently fanned by a March 29 report from the Wall Street Journal, which said Apple was working on two new iPhones, an updated version for AT&T, expected to be released this summer, and a version based on CDMA technology, which Verizon could release in early 2011, or as soon as AT&T's exclusivity contract with Apple expires.
Analysts have agreed that an iPhone on the Verizon network would benefit both parties, potentially doubling Apple's U.S. market share by 2011, according to analyst Neil Mawston, with Strategy Analytics. For Apple competitors, however, it could dangerously raise the bar.
Should Verizon get an iPhone, Mawston told eWEEK, "Samsung, LG, Motorola, RIM and Palm will all have to up their game at Verizon to fend off an attack from Apple."
The press conference at which Seidenberg was quoted was called to discuss the potential of a Verizon Wireless merger with Vodafone, which owns 45 percent of Verizon Wireless, to Verizon's 55 percent. A merger, however, seemed far less likely than a Verizon iPhone.
"Absent new information," Seidenberg told those present, regarding Vodafone, "a merger doesn't seem to have a lot of appeal."
Editor's Note: A correction has been made to reflect that Verizon's current network is based on CDMA technology.