Speaking to investors on Thursday, Seidenberg implied that there would be no iPhone on Verizon's network at any point in the near future, and practically ruled out the possibility of Apple making a CDMA version of the iPhone at all.
Seidenberg said, "We don't feel like we have an iPhone deficit.We would love to carry it, but we have to earn it." He also remarked, "I can't speak for Apple."
The Associated Press reported, "Seidenberg said nothing about an iPhone for the company's current network, but said he hopes Apple Inc. will come around and allow Verizon to sell the phone for a new network it's building."
The new network is of course Long Term Evolution 4G, which Verizon is expected to launch in up to 30 markets later this year. Verizon Wireless has indicated that the first types of devices that will be able to access its LTE network will be laptop dongles and other similar hardware. Smartphones won't be available with LTE on board until well into 2011.
That means even if Apple does produce an LTE version of the iPhone, it won't be ready in the near future.
Meanwhile, Susquehanna Financial analyst Jeff Fidicaro says that Apple has placed all its ducks in a row to commence manufacture of a CDMA iPhone.
He believes production will begin in December, with Apple completing about 3 million CDMA iPhones before the end of 2010, with a total production run targeted at between 20 and 21 million units. The AT&T version of the iPhone uses GSM radio technology, which doesn't work with Verizon and Sprint's networks.
Fidicaro's predictions don't appear to gel with statements being made by Verizon, so which is it?
Right now, AT&T still has the exclusive rights to sell the iPhone in the U.S. Neither company has said exactly when that exclusivity will lapse, but many suspect it will be January 2011. Until they make a formal announcement, anything is possible.