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Friday, April 09, 2010, 07:15 am PT (10:15 am ET)

Verizon CEO's comments interpreted to mean no iPhone until 2011

When Verizon's CEO earlier this week said a CDMA-compatible iPhone on his company's network would be "Apple's call," it dampened hopes of a Verizon iPhone appearing in 2010.

It was on Tuesday that Ivan Seidenberg, chief executive of Verizon, said his company has told Apple they would like to carry the iPhone. He even specifically cited a report from The Wall Street Journal in late March that said Apple is working on two new iPhones, including one compatible with CDMA networks that could go into production in September.

But Seidenberg also cautioned that any decision regarding the iPhone on Verizon's network would be "Apple's call." On Friday, Reuters gathered reaction from analysts, who interpreted Seidenberg's comments as an attempt to cool off talk that a Verizon iPhone could be coming this year.

Credit Suisse analyst Jonathan Chaplin said that he believes Seidenberg was trying to "realistically set expectations." He believes that AT&T will maintain its exclusive rights to the iPhone for the next year at least.

And Avi Greengart, with Current Analysis, reportedly said Apple is unlikely to do a "one-off" version of the iPhone for compatibility with CDMA networks when Long Term Evolution 4G is around the corner. Both AT&T and Verizon plan to upgrade their networks in the coming years to the new wireless standard.

"It's not in Apple's nature to do a one-off for a technology Verizon itself is moving away from," Greengart reportedly said.

Others said Verizon runs the risk of a publicity nightmare if adding the iPhone causes network issues, or if coverage isn't what consumers have come to expect given Verizon's touting of its coverage map in TV commercials.

Talk of a Verizon iPhone dissipated in January, after Apple executives made a clear effort to demonstrate they are happy with their partnership with AT&T. The company also aimed to downplay speculation that the iPhone would become available on multiple carriers in the U.S. But it was the Journal's report claiming production of a CDMA iPhone that once again fueled rumors that Apple might bring its handset to the largest wireless carrier in the U.S.

Rumors of the end of AT&T's exclusive agreement for the iPhone have persisted for years. Currently, AT&T is the sole carrier of the iPhone in the U.S. Some have said that exclusive agreement is set to end this summer.