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So, what is Verizon up to?

By Doug Thompson
January 9, 2011

Henry Weinacker III talks on his iPhone while attending the International Consumer Electronics Show, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Verizon Wireless said Friday it will hold a press conference on Jan. 11, reigniting rumors that it will become the second U.S. carrier to sell Apple Inc.‘s iPhone.

At the International Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas, Verizon already made news with phones and tablets that will run on its high-speed, next-generation 4G wireless network. So it’s significant that Verizon will still have an announcement big enough to warrant a press conference in New York a week later, with Lowell McAdam, president and chief operating officer of Verizon Communications Inc., in attendance.

Verizon would not give any further details as to what the event was about. Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said she could not comment on rumors and speculation.

Rumors that Verizon would carry the iPhone have been circulating since before Apple Inc. unveiled the smart phone in 2007. Those rumors lingered over the years, but have become louder in recent months, as AT&T Inc. is believed to be nearing the end of its exclusive hold on the iPhone.

Although the iPhone has long been the crown jewel of AT&T’s smart phone portfolio, the carrier in recent months added more than a dozen phones that run Google Inc.‘s Android software. Until now, Verizon made up for not having the iPhone by selling Android phones such as the Motorola Droid.

Apple, as usual, did not attend the gadget show in Las Vegas. The company tends to make big product announcements at its own press conferences.

Shares of New York-based Verizon Communications Inc., which owns Verizon Wireless in a joint venture with Vodafone Group PLC, closed on Friday at $35.93, down 30 cents. The company gained 10 cents in after-hours trading. Apple’ stock closed at $336.12, up $2.39, and gained 67 cents in after-hours trading.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press

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