Apple is having discussions with Verizon Wireless about bringing the iconic iPhone to the carrier, according to a report in USA Today, a move that would unsettle the balance of power between Verizon and Apple's chief wireless patron, AT&T Mobility.
The report, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said Verizon entered into "high-level" negotiations with Apple a few months ago, when Steve Jobs was still overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company. The conversations have been continuing, despite Jobs being on medical leave from Apple until the end of June. If Apple made an iPhone for Verizon, the nation's largest wireless carrier, it could become the first CDMA version of the smartphone.
During Verizon's earnings call this morning, Verizon COO and President Denny Strigl responded to questions about the USA Today report by saying that the company is always open to discussions with any suppliers. "We have no announcements to make today relative to Apple. Historically we have not been dependent upon one device," Strigl said.
The news of the negotiations comes as AT&T is reportedly in talks to extend its exclusive rights to sell the iPhone in the United States. AT&T Mobility, the company's wireless arm, is reportedly looking to push its rights into 2011.
The news appears to conflict with statements by Verizon Communications CEO Ivan Seidenberg, who said in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal that Apple never seriously considered making a CDMA version of the iPhone because of the technology's limited global reach compared with GSM. He said Apple would probably be more willing to work with Verizon once the carrier switched over to LTE; the network technology is rapidly becoming the choice du jour among the world's carriers for 4G technology.
Verizon is set to make its first LTE deployments later this year, with expanded deployments coming in 2010.
- see this USA Today article
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