USA Today rumors hope for the US' largest network:

Verizon (VZ) and Apple (AAPL) are discussing the possible development of an iPhone for Verizon, with the goal of introducing it next year, people familiar with the situation say.

Talks, claim their unnamed sources, began before Steve Jobs' leave of absence. How would this effect the major players:

  • Verizon would get the iPhone. Give Apple's disinterest in CDMA, it would more likely be 4G LTE device, which Verizon has already been sniffing around. Given less than spectacular competitive launches of the Instinct and BlackBerry Storm, Verizon would get the highest profile smartphone on the fastest next-generation 4G LTE technology. Would it be ready by 2010? Either way, it would be a monstrous marketing coup that would prevent users from leaving the network for AT&T and may bring many who'd previously left running right back.

  • AT&T last quarter had the iPhone to thank for a large part of their results. 40% of iPhone activations went to new customers and 75% of net new bill-paying customers were iPhone users. If Verizon were to get the iPhone, even if non-exclusively, it would likely be a huge roshambo to AT&T's bottom line. (Like why AT&T is trying to extend it's deal with Apple).

  • Apple would gain access to Verizon's monstrous user pool -- people unwilling or unable to switch to AT&T for the iPhone. No carrier has complete coverage, after all, and Apple likely doesn't want to see that large a group of customers left lying on the table.

We know many of you want to see your iPhone on Verizon, is 2010 soon enough for you? Or don't you see AT&T giving up their golden exclusivity any time soon?