The reports that Verizon will get their hands on an iPhone, which AT&T has been peddling exclusively,  has garnered much attention in the news. But one must remember that this is rumor only and may not be a sure thing. We have heard many times before that Apple was wanting to expand their horizons and could offer the iPhone to other cell phone companies.

But according to the AppleInsider it may be too early to count your chickens:

But Reiner isn’t completely sold on the prospect of a Verizon iPhone in early 2011. The analyst, in a note issued to investors Wednesday morning, noted that such rumors have surfaced numerous times.

“Similar speculation has emerged before, so barring independent confirmation or a press release from one of the parties, it’d be rash to pop the champagne,” he wrote. “Still, it’s worth considering the potential implications.”

The impact for Apple would be huge, he believes, adding at least 12 million additional iPhone sales in the U.S. annually. That would amount to $7 billion in incremental revenue and more than $3 in incremental earnings per share.

“Many investors have mused about this upside, but few, we believe, have built it into their models or expectations,” he said. “If this is real, it’s big and it’s incremental.”

On AT&T alone, Apple over the last year sold 11 million iPhones to its 65 million postpaid install base of subscribers. Some of those subscribers who switched for the iPhone would inevitably move back to Verizon if Apple’s handset became available on its network, Reiner said. But with Verizon’s 83 million subscribers, Verizon would likely add at least 12 million net subscribers for Apple, and likely many more.

And from a strategic standpoint, Yainer said he believes it makes sense, as adding Verizon would “significantly blunt the competitive threat” from Google’s Android mobile operating system. Since last year, Verizon has worked closely with Google to offer some of the best Android devices in an effort to compete with the iPhone.

That is the key ingredient which could keep Verizon from making the move. Verizon has spent a lot of time and energy working with Google and the Android mobile operating system. Would Verizon want to give up that partnership to add the iPhone to their offering of cell phones? Would AT&T not fight to keep their exclusive contract with Apple to be the only cell phone carrier to offer the device?

Until one of the players, Apple or Verizon, confirms the rumor, it will remain exactly what it is — a rumor.

Comments welcome.

Source – AppleInsider