While it’s been assumed for quite some time that Apple’s next smartphone would run on LTE networks here in the US, it’s been a mystery as to whether it would do so outside of the US. The latest iPad’s LTE only works in the US and Canada.

Well it doesn’t look like that’s going to be the case with the new iPhone. According to a new report, citing the usual “people familiar with the matter,” Apple’s sixth-generation handset will support long term evolution networks around the globe….

The Wall Street Journal reports:

 “Apple Inc.’s next iPhone will work on the fastest wireless networks around the world—including in the U.S., Europe and Asia—though it is unlikely to be available on every carrier, people familiar with the matter said.

The technical compatibility with so-called LTE networks removes a big competitive danger for Apple and gives carriers a chance to sell their fastest data services to Apple’s huge base of iPhone customers.

It isn’t likely to work with all carriers’ LTE networks in all countries, the people said, though it wasn’t clear which would be left out.”

Although they share the same name, LTE networks differ by carrier and region. Verizon’s LTE network, for example, runs on a different frequency band than most other carriers outside the US. This is why Apple has taken so much heat in Australia and other countries over its Wi-Fi+4G iPad model — it doesn’t get 4G speeds in most countries.

But if this story holds true, the new iPhone will be a multi-band device, supporting a number of global carriers. Though, as the report says, it’s likely that some will still be left out. In that case, it’ll be interesting to see how Apple markets the handset.

We’ll find out more next Wednesday.