Yesterday, we passed on a report from CNET that claimed that Verizon would soon be enforcing a “hard requirement” that all future smartphones be LTE-compatible. The news made some sense considering the carrier has been leading the LTE movement.

But today, the Mac Observer is reporting that they’ve heard a different story. While Verizon might eventually start requiring manufacturers to incorporate LTE chips into their products, it doesn’t look like it’ll be happening anytime soon…

TMO has apparently talked to a number of Verizon employees who, according to them, have debunked the rumor:

“TMO spoke to several Verizon wireless representatives at CES and asked them the question [on hard LTE requirement]. The response was, first, they haven’t seen any corporate information to that effect. Or any imposed deadlines. Secondly, they said that while the goal is to have all of its customers on LTE, “that’s a long way off.”

Given that CNET’s report on Verizon’s commitment to LTE-only products started with the phrase “from now on,” you can see how folks would have mistakenly assumed that the requirement was effective immediately. But we have to agree with the Mac Observer here. Although LTE chip prices are coming down and coverage is expanding, we’re probably still a good two years away from seeing carriers with LTE-only product lineups (Verizon plans to have its LTE network completed by late 2013).

Regardless, as we mentioned yesterday, Verizon’s purposed LTE requirement has zero effect on Apple’s plans to incorporate the next-generation wireless technology into its products. Coincidentally, we’ve heard rumors today that both the company’s upcoming tablet and its next smartphone will both be compatible with LTE networks.