A Business Week report has the iPhone landing at Verizon by Valentine's Day or earlier.
Business Week quotes an unnamed source saying Apple will introduce a Verizon version of its popular handset sometime after the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January.
Verizon has scheduled a special media call on the afternoon of Jan. 6 to discuss its plans for its new LTE 4G network. Could the iPhone run on that?
This is where it gets interesting. Apple has long touted iPhone's ability to run data and voice calls at the same time. Currently, you can't do that on Verizon's 3G network. But you could on the new LTE network.
Whatever happens, industry analysts think a Verizon iPhone could cost AT&T anywhere from one million to six million customers. Business Week quotes, for example, that John Hodulik, a UBS Securities analyst has dropped his estimation of AT&T iPhone sales in 2011 to 8.8 million from 15.6 million in 2010.
Hodulik predicts Verizon sells more than 13 million iPhones next year, including more than two million to AT&T customers who switch.
Ultimately, AT&T could have an answer for Verizon. It recently bought tons of 4G wireless spectrum and has been upgrading its current 3G wireless network to a faster standard that can deliver near 4G-speed. So when customers start using those 4G phones across all networks next year, AT&T can promise faster speeds than Verizon, in theory, when customers have to fall back from 4G.
Also, if both big carriers get the Apple device, they may be forced to compete on price, which could serve customers well.