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Fortune: Apple to release Verizon iPhone in early 2011

Fortune on Friday added itself to a growing list of mainstream publications that have "confirmed" that Apple will launch an iPhone on the Verizon network in early 2011.

The report from author Sarah Ellison states that the publication has "confirmed" that a Verizon iPhone will be released in early 2011. It noted that the most talked-about phone in America — the Verizon iPhone — is one that doesn't even exist.

The report, which profiles Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg's efforts to build the "nation's most reliable" wireless network, notes that Verizon's network will be "assaulted" in early 2011 with millions of new customers using the bandwidth-heavy iPhone. It was an influx of data consuming iPhone users that caused major problems and a public relations debacle for AT&T.

The report detailed how Verizon passed on the iPhone in 2005 because the wireless carrier felt Apple and its chief executive, Steve Jobs, wanted too much control over the sale of the device, and too large a cut of the monthly service fees. It also stated that Apple was wary of building a CDMA iPhone because the wireless technology is not as popular across the globe as it is in the U.S.

"Seidenberg tried to reassure Jobs that Verizon was quickly building a faster 4G (fourth-generation) network, one that would work globally," Ellison wrote of a meeting between the two in 2007. "He also tried to convince Jobs that Verizon had a superior 3G network to AT&T's. Jobs listened politely, as Seidenberg tells it, and agreed to stay in touch."

The two companies allegedly began talking again in December 2007, as AT&T struggled with dropped calls and network issues for iPhone users. The result: a new version of the iPhone 4, compatible with Verizon's 3G CDMA network, set to launch next year.

Verizon's iPhone is expected to offer special features, like live TV for customers of the company's FiOS cable service. It also, according to Fortune, likely will not work outside of the U.S.

Fortune joins a list of reputable news sources that have also confirmed that the iPhone will launch on Verizon's network in early 2011. Earlier this month, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg all independently reported that Apple would release a CDMA version of its iPhone on the Verizon network next year.

The anticipated partnership has also been foreshadowed this week with the sale of Apple's iPad at Verizon stores. Customers can buy a Wi-Fi iPad bundled with a MiFi Intelligent Mobile Hotspot at the same price as an iPad with integrated 3G connectivity.