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Help File: Forget about the mythical 'Verizon iPhone' already

Sunday, June 13, 2010; G02

Q: Is there any chance Verizon Wireless will have the iPhone anytime soon?

A: No, no, a thousand times no.

The "Verizon iPhone" rumor has been circulating since a few months after Apple's smartphone debuted on AT&T Wireless in 2007. And it's been false every single time since.

But the wish among some would-be iPhone users for a choice of U.S. wireless carriers is so strong that even Apple's introduction of the new iPhone 4 last week -- available, just like its predecessors, only on AT&T in the United States -- did not stop two different people on Wednesday alone from asking me whether a Verizon iPhone might not still be on the way.

No such thing will happen anytime soon. Apple seems resolutely uninterested in making multiple models of the iPhone: one built on the GSM (Global System for Mobile) wireless standard, which AT&T employs and which dominates most markets worldwide, and another for the CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) technology used by Verizon and Sprint but absent in most other countries.

The one thing that could change this is Verizon's move to switch its network to a newer, faster standard called LTE (Long Term Evolution). Since many GSM carriers plan to make the same upgrade, Apple wouldn't have to ship two iPhones with different innards.

Even then, Apple could elect to continue its partnership with AT&T -- perhaps because of Verizon's wish to have more control over the phone's configuration than Apple would allow. But with Verizon on the same standard, at least hackers would theoretically be able to unlock iPhones and use them on that carrier's network.

In the meantime, if you're set on Verizon's network and you need a new phone, you'll just have to buy some other model. Please do so and ignore any other reheated rumors on this subject.

Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or robp@washpost.com. Visit http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fasterforward for his Faster Forward blog.

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