What was once a rumor has now been confirmed: Verizon's (NYSE:VZ) wireless business unit will begin carrying Palm's (NASDAQ:PALM) Pre smartphone in early 2010.

"You can expect to see a steady stream of attractive devices coming from Verizon wireless," said President and Chief Operating Officer Denny Strigl during Monday's conference call with investors. "For example, we launched the Blackberry Tour on July 12. We plan to refresh the Storm later this year. Android is on our roadmap. We have Motorola (NYSE:MOT) devices that are coming, and we plan to offer the Palm Pre early next year, and we have continued excellent relationship with LG and Samsung." [Emphasis added.]

Congress must be thrilled. In recent weeks, lawmakers have expressed concerns that exclusive deals reduce competition and hurt smaller carriers.

On Friday, CEO Lowell McAdam told members that his company's network is opening up by allowing the little guys to offer phones intended exclusively for its network. The catch? The phones must have been available through Verizon for six months first, News.com reports.

And now, Verizon is cutting in on Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) exclusive deal for the Pre. The carrier shows every sign of wanting to cooperate with lawmakers.

I'm not expecting AT&T (NYSE:T) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to follow suit. Nor do I expect Verizon to stop taking exclusive deals when it can. But there is the hint of a movement here, initiated in part by a more activist Congress.

Put differently: The Pre is probably just the prelude.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is sleeping well, thank you.