NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Verizon ( VZ - Get Report) iPhone rumor mill is alive and well -- again.

According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple ( AAPL - Get Report) will start mass-producing an iPhone that can run on Verizon's network later this year. Citing people briefed by Apple, the Journal reports that this CDMA version of the phone will have a similar design to the existing iPhone.

As reported by TheStreet earlier this year, the device contains a Qualcomm ( QCOM) chip and is expected to make its debut in the first quarter of 2011. Apple is also building a new, fifth-generation iPhone, although it is unclear when Verizon will start selling the device.

Apple has had an exclusive U.S. relationship with AT&T ( T) to sell the iPhone since the smartphone's launch in 2007, although talk of an iPhone selling at the nation's no. 1 wireless shop has ebbed over the past few years.

Following Verizon chief Ivan Seidenberg's recent comments that a Verizon iPhone might be a more realistic option when the company gets closer to completing its 4G network in 2012, there's been chatter around Verizon selling a 3G iPad next year.

Apple, which faces fierce competition from Google's ( GOOG) Android operating system, recently opened up another front in the smartphone war, launching its new iPhone 4 in China.

Despite some much-publicized antenna problems, Apple has described the iPhone 4 as its most successful launch ever and has already sold more than 3 million of the new phones.

The tech giant's shares dipped $1.17 to $287.76 on Wednesday as the Nasdaq slipped 0.96%.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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