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Verizon CEO casts doubt on getting iPhone

In a speech at an investor conference today, Ivan Seidenberg doesn't sound positive that his network could soon offer Apple's smartphone.

James Martin/CNET

Despite recent reports that a CDMA-based iPhone is headed to Verizon, the CEO of the wireless carrier didn't sound hopeful about that happening in the near term in a speech today, according to news stories.

Verizon's Ivan Seidenberg addressed an investor conference and in response to when his network would offer the iPhone, he said, "We would love to carry it, but we have to earn it."

He also said that as Verizon rolls out its 4G LTE network over the next year that Apple would get on board. "At some point, Apple will get with the program," he said, according to The Wall Street Journal, which noted that some frustration crept into his voice.

As recently as yesterday there have been reports that Apple has been ordering massive amounts of CDMA chips, which has been interpreted as prepping for a CDMA-based phone on Verizon. But while Verizon is the U.S.'s largest CDMA carrier, it's not the only one: Sprint is another that uses the same technology.

But Seidenberg didn't deny that his network would eventually get the iPhone. It could be that he still has no deal in place because there are details to still work out with Apple, or there is a deal signed and he knows that Apple wants to be the one to make the announcement.

A Verizon iPhone is likely to happen at some point--both because it's in Apple's best interest to gain more customers by adding a carrier in the U.S. besides AT&T, and because it wants to keep customers away from Android.