Verizon iPhone coming in January?

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The rumor that won’t die about the phone that never seems to lose adoration flared up again Tuesday. Apple’s iPhone could be available on Verizon Wireless in January, according to a report in Bloomberg.

Hopes that Apple’s coveted smartphone will break from the shackles of its exclusive U.S. agreement with AT&T have percolated in the form of technology gossip since 2007, the year the first iPhone hit stores and drew long lines of customers.


Three years and three iPhones later, the phone is still available solely on the nation’s second-largest wireless network, and each new product continues to incite ever-growing crowds and retail scrambles. Launching in five countries Thursday, the iPhone 4 sold 1.7 million units in three days.

To combat iPhone envy, Verizon has been throwing its marketing might behind smartphones made by Motorola and HTC running Google’s Android software, under the Droid brand. Despite Motorola announcing the Droid X the day before the iPhone launch with a July 15 release on Verizon, the Apple hype machine was unflinching.

The iPhone would be a serious boon to Verizon, which is still playing catch-up in the smartphone race. The Bloomberg story appears to jive with a Wall Street Journal report from March that said Apple would begin producing phones compatible with the cellular network used by Verizon, called CDMA.

Shares of Apple’s and AT&T’s stocks were down somewhat Tuesday, while Verizon Communications experienced a quick spike after the news.

For the iPhone 4 launch, AT&T said customers with contracts expiring this year can buy a new iPhone at the subsidized prices -- models sell for $199 and $299 -- and renew their contracts. Industry watchers wondered if that was a defensive move to keep people locked to AT&T in advance of the iPhone finding its way to other carriers.

But we’re all left wondering, because none of the parties involved appears ready to discuss the ongoing rumors.

-- Mark Milian