Verizon Will Offer Motorola Phone for 4G Network: Report

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Verizon Wireless will distribute a smartphone made by Motorola Inc. to run on its speedy new 4G network next year, the carrier's chief operating officer, John Stratton, said in an interview Tuesday.

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The comments mark the first time the carrier has identified a handset maker for the closely watched launch and represents an important vote of confidence in Motorola, which could soon be competing with Apple for the attentions of its most important carrier.

Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodaphone Group PLC, launched its high-speed, fourth-generation network earlier this month, but has yet to introduce any mobile phones that can use it. The network, which employs a technology called Long-Term Evolution (LTE), promises wireless internet connections that are as fast as land-based cable modems or fiber optic technology.

"We've got LTE smartphones around the horizon," Stratton said. "Motorola will be right there."

Motorola has previously said it would make devices that work on LTE networks in 2011, but declined Tuesday to comment on the specific timing or distribution of those devices.

The timing and price of the new phone could not be learned. At a wireless technology conference in October, Verizon Communications President Lowell McAdam said there will be half a dozen smartphones and tablets compatible with LTE on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, and that they would appear at retailers in the first half of next year.

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Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola's mobile-phone unit is facing questions from investors about its reliance on Verizon as a distributor as it prepares for life as a stand-alone company on Jan. 4.

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