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Thursday, September 23, 2010, 07:25 am PT (10:25 am ET)

Verizon CEO hopes Apple will offer iPhone for its 4G network

Verizon's chief executive said this week he hopes Apple will build an iPhone compatible with his company's forthcoming 4G LTE network, downplaying rumors of an iPhone launch on his company's existing CDMA network in early 2011.

Ivan Seidenberg made the comments Thursday at an investor conference, according to The Associated Press. Though he said nothing about an iPhone being built for his company's current CDMA network, he said he hopes Apple will allow Verizon to sell a smartphone for its forthcoming long-term evolution 4G network.

The CEO's comments come as rumors have steadily built for months that Apple is prepared to launch a Verizon-compatible CDMA iPhone in early 2011. This week, overseas suppliers indicated to one Wall Street analyst that Apple will begin manufacturing a CDMA iPhone in December of this year.

Reports of a January 2011 launch began in June, when Bloomberg said it was told Apple would start selling a CDMA handset at the start of next year. Assuming the handset would run on the Verizon network, it would mark the end of exclusivity in the U.S. for AT&T.

In terms of customers, Verizon is the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. Both it and rival AT&T are currently building their 4G networks.

AT&T announced last week that its LTE network is on track for a mid-2011 launch. Verizon, on the other hand, said it will launch its own LTE network in 30 National Football League cities in the U.S. by the end of 2010.