Verizon and Apple are formally discussing the possibility of introducing a Verizon-compatible iPhone next year, according to a new report. Citing “people familiar with the situation,” USA Today reports that the two companies entered into “high-level” discussions months ago while Steve Jobs was still overseeing day-to-day business at Apple. While the article states that the phone would be built to run on Verizon’s current CDMA wireless network, Verizon plans to begin commercial use of its next-generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G network in 2010, suggesting that the negotiations may instead be targeting this more advanced network platform. AT&T is expected to launch a commercial LTE network in mid-2011, leaving Verizon a brief window of 4G exclusivity in which it could take advantage of a 4G iPhone. In addition, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg recently commented that Apple would be more likely to offer the iPhone to Verizon once it had transitioned to a LTE network. USA Today claims that AT&T has exclusive U.S. iPhone distribution rights into 2010—though it is said to be seeking an extension through 2011—and would likely continue to offer the iPhone even if Verizon were to offer it as well.