Verizon CEO dishes on buying Vodafone, Sprint's unlimited service plans and the iPhone

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Verizon Communications likely won't increase its 55-percent stake in Verizon Wireless, CEO Ivan Seidenberg told the Wall Street Journal, since Vodafone hasn't signaled a willingness to sell its share of the business.

"I would like to own the whole thing, but we don't have to," Seidenberg told the Journal during a wide-ranging interview that also touched on unlimited wireless plans and the government's broadband stimulus package.

Seidenberg said he thinks Vodafone may eventually sell its Verizon Wireless stake as wireless growth slows. However, he dismissed the idea of Verizon buying Vodafone outright, explaining that there would be a clash of corporate cultures. 

Seidenberg also held forth on the government's broadband stimulus plans. Industry watchers have been waiting to see how receptive the private sector will be the government's plan to expand broadband across the United States. While Seidenberg said he agreed with the plan's goals, he said there may be too many regulations and rules attached to how the money will be distributed. "The government needs to trust that the market can spend the money correctly," he said. 

The Verizon chief said that the rise of $50 per month unlimited wireless plans has not affected Verizon's higher-tier customer base. He was critical of Sprint Nextel's decision to offer a $50 per month unlimited voice and data plan through its prepaid unit, Boost Mobile. "I don't know what Sprint thinks it is," he said. Sprint contends it has the network capacity to handle increased traffic.

Seidenberg also said Apple likely would be willing to work with Verizon on bringing the iPhone to Verizon Wireless, once the carrier launches its LTE network. He said Apple never seriously considered making a CDMA version of the phone because of its limited global reach as compared with GSM. LTE, on the other hand, is rapidly becoming the 4G choice du jour among the world's major wireless operators.

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