AT&T Inc. says it plans to offer a version of an iPhone next year that runs on a faster wireless network so users can get speedier results when surfing the Web.

The move would address one of the main drawbacks about the smart phone made by Apple Inc. and distributed exclusively by wireless carrier AT&T in the United States.

AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson spilled the news during his appearance at an event late Wednesday at the Churchill Club in Santa Clara.

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A spokeswoman for Apple declined to comment Thursday.

Stephenson said he didn't know how much more the new version will cost than the existing model, which sells for $399.

Many industry observers had expected Apple to make the iPhone work on faster 3G networks at some point but couldn't pinpoint when.

The current model — Apple's first foray in the cell phone market — runs on 2.5G networks, or in AT&T's case, its relatively slow EDGE network.

The difference in performance is similar to a dial-up Internet connection versus a high-speed broadband connection.