WASHINGTON (AP) — Apple Inc. plans to make a version of its popular iPhone 4 available through Verizon Wireless by early next year, according to a published report.

The iPhone is now available only through AT&T Inc. Adding Verizon Wireless, the nation’s largest mobile phone operator, could significantly boost sales of Apple’s phones, which face rising competition from smartphones that use Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

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The New York Times, citing an anonymous source briefed by Apple, reported the development late Friday. The Wall Street Journal also reported the move earlier this week.

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Jeffrey Nelson, a spokesman for Verizon Wireless, declined to comment. Tom Neumayr, a spokesman for Apple, said he wouldn’t comment on “speculation.”

It’s long been rumored that a version of the iPhone would soon be made for Verizon Wireless. A Verizon Wireless executive earlier this week downplayed the possibility of an iPhone using the company’s current network. The executive suggested that an iPhone could be made available later for a faster Verizon Wireless network.

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