Verizon CEO down on Vodafone merger, but open to iPhone

Verizon Communications CEO Ivan Seidenberg seemed to scotch the idea of a merger with Vodafone, noting he sees little compelling reason for such a move.

Ivan G. Seidenberg VerizonRecent reports indicated the two companies were holding informal talks about the future of their joint venture, Verizon Wireless, in which Verizon holds a 55 percent stake and Vodafone has the remaining 45 percent. A Bloomberg report, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said the companies were mulling multiple options including combining the two companies, having one company sell its stake in Verizon Wireless to the other, or paying out a dividend to investors.

"Absent new information, a merger doesn't seem to have a lot of appeal," Seidenberg said today at a conference in New York hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, according to Reuters. He said that the idea of global wireless company, as exemplified by Vodafone, is not an ideal model because of difficulties in reaching economies of scale. However, Seidenberg noted that his position might change, and that no clear decision has been made.

Seidenberg also opined on several other hot-button issues. A recent report in the Wall Street Journal said Apple is preparing a CDMA iPhone, which could work on Verizon's network. Seidenberg said Verizon is open to offering the gadget on its network, but it's "Apple's call" as to whether that will happen. "Eventually, it's our view we'll get to carrying Apple," he said.

The Verizon chief also said Verizon Wireless would be open to throttling the data speed of high-bandwidth users, and possibly make them pay more for faster connections--positioning that aligns with recent comments from AT&T.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article

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