The next Verizon iPhone model will work on overseas networks, a Verizon Communications Inc. executive confirmed Thursday in what may have been an accidental lifting of the secrecy that usually surrounds Apple Inc.'s products.
Verizon Communications Inc.'s chief financial officer, Fran Shammo, told analysts on a quarterly earnings conference call that the new phone would be a "global" version, implying that it will be able to roam on the "GSM" wireless networks that are common in other countries.
Rival AT&T Inc.'s version of the iPhone already works on GSM networks. Verizon started selling its own, non-GSM version on Feb. 10.
Apple hasn't revealed any details on the next iPhone. It didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment before business hours Thursday on the West Coast.
Shammo didn't say when the new phone would launch, but he implied that Verizon and AT&T would be on an "equal footing" later this year. That would mean that the two carriers would get the next iPhone model simultaneously. Apple has released previous iPhone models in late June and early July, but analysts are saying it could be a few months later this year.
In a later interview Thursday, Shammo said he didn't want to comment further on Apple's plans.
On Wednesday, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook reinforced the notion that the next iPhone would not be capable of using Verizon's new super-fast "LTE" data network. AT&T is building a similar network and plans to have it up and running in a few areas this summer.
Cook said early LTE chips for phones force design compromises that Apple isn't prepared to make. That could mean that the chips are too big to fit inside the iPhone, or that they consume a lot of battery power.
Competitor HTC Corp. is already selling an LTE phone, the Thunderbolt, that uses Verizon's network. Verizon on Thursday reported strong early sales of the phone.
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