Verizon execs propose speed-based pricing for LTE data plans, say LTE has 'drawn the interest of Apple'

Paying for data overage is the new hotness in the wireless biz, and Verizon was the latest to dive head-first into the nasty world of usage-based pricing for its wireless data plans just a few weeks ago. But how about paying for speed instead? Seems both outgoing Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg and CFO Fran Shammo commented today that the company's shiny new LTE network could support charging different rates depending on the speed subscribers select -- just like in the landline internet business -- though they wouldn't commit to implementing such a system just yet. Speaking of LTE, Seidenberg also mentioned that he "expects" Verizon's first LTE phone to launch in February (likely the LG we saw or HTC's Mecha, if we had to guess), coming in on the early side of its 1H 2011 plan -- and what's more, he's saying more LTE-equipped devices will launch than originally anticipated. We certainly won't complain about that.

On the undying topic of the iPhone, Seidenberg's basically holding the same line he's maintained for some time, which is that the companies' "interests are coming together" and that the phone will come when "Apple thinks it's time." The gem, though, is that Seidenberg specifically says that Verizon's adoption of LTE has attracted Apple's attention and helped it score the iPad -- and seeing how Verizon's cobbled-together iPad / MiFi bundle doesn't support LTE, we can only assume it was a peace offering to help the two companies come together and prepare to work together more closely down the road. Question is, just how soon would Apple like to play the LTE card?