Good news my globe-trotting iPhone lovers. According to Verizon, the iPhone 5 is expected to be a dual-mode CDMA/GSM model, meaning when you travel abroad, your Verizon iPhone won't be a useless brick.
Right now, this is how it works. You can buy one of two iPhone 4 models. If you opt for a GSM iPhone 4, it works anywhere in the world because GSM is virtually everywhere. It's the international cellphone standard. In places like the US, there are also CDMA networks on Verizon and Sprint. CDMA phones can't pick up a GSM frequency in countries that don't have CDMA infrastructures set in place. Basically, if you have a Verizon iPhone 4, it won't outside of the US.
On the other hand, a CDMA/GSM iPhone would be able to operate just fine anywhere in the world, provided there is a wireless cell signal. A recent tear down revealed the chip inside of the CDMA iPhone 4 is actually a CDMA/GSM iPhone hybrid, so hearing that the iPhone 5 will be the same isn't shocking news. Apple just chose not enable the GSM in the iPhone 4.
As Electronista and every Apple blogger notes, a true "global" iPhone 5 would allow Apple to realign its iPhone business from two separate models back into one. The launch of the Verizon iPhone 4 in February royally screwed over the release of the GSM iPhone 5 during the annual June/July iPhone refresh time frame. Pushing the iPhone 5 to September would give Apple ample time to have a simultaneous iPhone 5 launch in the US.
The "one-size-fits-all" model is always a nice way to increase profits. And everybody knows, Apple loves making money.