Two wireless giants -- Nokia ( NOK) and Verizon ( VZ) -- have decided to set aside their differences and work together to create a touchscreen device for the upcoming 4G LTE network. Burned by AT&T ( T) and Apple's ( AAPL) exclusive deal with the popular iPhone, Nokia and Verizon are determined to lead the next stage of wireless technology through what probably will be an exclusive partnership, say people familiar with the companies. The pact would be a huge restart for Nokia in the U.S., where it has seen its market share all but vanish. And for Verizon, the Nokia device would help it trump AT&T's iPhone by giving it a special product designed to take advantage of its new high-speed network and enable services like HD video. The move would mark a significant departure for Nokia, which has resisted efforts by U.S. telcos to control the features on its phones. The lack of cooperation has caused Nokia, the world's largest smartphone maker, to miss out on the high-end gadget boom here in the U.S. For Verizon, Nokia represents a capable technology partner that could help fashion a device that delivers a next generation of media and data services. Verizon told a gathering at a recent trade show that it plans to get its LTE network started earlier than originally planned, largely in an effort to get a one- or two-year jump on AT&T's upgrade. "They want to get back in the leadership role," says Telecom Pragmatics analyst Sam Greenholtz, referring to Nokia and Verizon's newfound common interest. "My guess is that Verizon will insist that this be an exclusive," says Greenholtz.
The news comes a day after Nokia said it was committed to have long term evolution or LTE devices available in 2010. James Harper, a Nokia marketing executive told an industry group in Grapevine, Texas, Wednesday that while he couldn't reveal any details on the devices, he added that they would be data intensive, according to a report posted on GigaOM. A Verizon representative had no comment and a Nokia rep said he wasn't aware of any device discussions with Verizon.