While AT&T definitely wants
to keep the iPhone to itself for as long as possible, that doesn't necessarily mean Apple echoes that desire. Source close to Verizon and Apple say the two companies are discussing the possible development of an iPhone for Verizon, with a target of next year.
However, the 2010 date as posited by the USA Today
doesn't make sense if AT&T has iPhone exclusivity until 2010, as has previously been rumored (neither AT&T nor Apple has been open on that). AT&T is pursuing extending that agreement until 2011, as we previously wrote.
It's also true that the best chance for this partnership to go into place would be as Verizon rolls out its new LTE network, which is slated to begin trials later this year and push into as many as 25 - 30 Verizon markets by 2010.
Much like GSM, LTE is a global standard, and thus would Apple to sell the same version of its device across the planet, with one caveat (a big one). LTE covers only the data portion of device connectivity. Apple would still have to produce a CDMA version for voice (can you hear me now?), which would increase its costs as well as limit the usefulness of the device globally. Well, if you want to make phone calls anyway.
Verizon has shipped many "world phones," which work on CDMA in the U.S. and have a SIM for the rest of the world, so that's a possibility, but it does make the phone more complex and hence more expensive.
Still, let's not discount just how many iPhone users have been dissatisfied with the AT&T network and would consider jumping to Verizon. And while a loss for AT&T, that would be a win for Apple: they'd have to buy a new iPhone.