They’re bacccck. Rumors of an impending Verizon iPhone. “Bloomberg Business” ( quotes “two people familiar with the plans” as saying Verizon Wireless will start carrying the iPhone in January.

Carrying the iPhone will give Verizon a boost in its competition for smartphone customers, UBS AG analyst John Hodulik told “Bloomberg Businessweek.” Verizon customers, who numbered 92.8 million at the end of the first quarter, may buy three million iPhones a quarter, he estimates.

“Apple is going to dramatically increase the number of devices it sells in the U.S. when exclusivity at AT&T ends,” says Hodulik. “It’s hard to ignore the quality issues that AT&T has faced.”

If it happens, Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner told clients — as reported by “Barron’s” ( this would result in the sale of at least 12 million additional phones in the U.S. market which would mean more than $7 billion in incremental revenue for Apple.

He says the move “would significantly blunt the competitive threat from the Android platform, whose favored status at Verizon has been critical to its building momentum.”

— Dennis Sellers