Verizon CEO Ian Seidenberg sat down with Charlie Rose of Business Week and confirmed that Verizon was never in the running for the original iPhone. Though Verizon and Apple discussed the iPhone early on, Seidenberg claims that Apple was only interested in choosing one carrier per market and that carrier was AT&T in the US. AT&T was selected first because its network was GSM-based and compatible with other carriers worldwide. This revelation is contrary to the popular belief that Verizon was offered the iPhone first and turned it down.
After a few years, Apple began to expand to alternate carriers in Europe, and Verizon positioned itself to be Apple's #2 pick when it was ready to branch out in the US. The carrier installed CDMA towers on Apple's campus and let Apple test out its CDMA technology. Seidenberg says this about Verizon's preparation for Apple, "when they (Apple) were ready to make a decision to add a second carrier, we made sure that they had a favorable impression."
Now that Apple and Verizon have come together to offer an iPhone, the next evolution, according to Seidenberg, will be in LTE. The wireless carrier is ahead of AT&T in LTE deployment, and Apple will benefit from Verizon's advanced position. Seidenberg notes that Apple gets "to establish a relationship with us early in their cycles to take advantage of the 4G stuff that's going to come out over the next 12 months." It's not a confirmation, but Seidenberg's comments strongly suggest the next generation iPhone for Verizon will include LTE connectivity.
*Verizon is currently in the process of acquiring AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.