Apple's iPhone, tied to AT&T as its exclusive carrier in the U.S. since it first hit the scene, will become available for the Verizon network, starting in January, according to a Bloomberg report that cites at least two sources who are familiar with the plans. (Techmeme)
The news - which is hardly the first time the rumor mill has launched Verizon-iPhone buzz - follows the release and record sales of the iPhone 4 through AT&T this month. As part of the release, AT&T allowed customers whose contracts were slated to expire this year to renew early - and lock themselves in as AT&T customers for two more years - to get the subsidized price from AT&T.
The exclusivity contract with AT&T has long been considered something that's kept Apple's device from growing at an even faster pace. AT&T's service problems, especially in New York and San Francisco, has turned the company into the butt of late night jokes and generally been Apple's weakest link. Verizon has said in the past that its network - considered to be superior to AT&T's in most regions - is equipped to handle iPhone traffic.
More importantly, though, the three-year period that Apple and AT&T have stayed exclusive partners allowed competitors - notably Google with its Android devices - the time to develop alternative platforms and gain traction among consumers looking for a high-end smartphone like the iPhone, but on a different network.
Neither Apple nor Verizon confirmed the deal with Bloomberg.