Apple is in talks about developing an iPhone for Verizon’s wireless network—with possible deployment next year, USA Today reports. Currently, the iPhone is only available on AT&T’s GSM network, which is incompatible with Verizon’s CDMA operation. AT&T has exclusive US rights to the iPhone into 2010, and analysts expect AT&T to try to retain them for at least another year.
“Breaking the (iPhone) exclusivity with AT&T is a huge thing," one analyst said. AT&T signed up 1.6 million iPhone customers in the most recent quarter, 40% of them new to AT&T, and its mobile data revenue was up nearly 40%. But the opportunity for Apple to tap into Verizon’s 80 million users is huge; very few are thought to also own an iPhone.