To label this news a rumor wouldn’t be quite fair to the credibility of the AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson, but then again, until it comes from Apple’s black turtlenecked messiah, we can’t quite claim it’s straight from the horse’s mouth. Nonetheless: An iPhone model with 3G Internet capability may be on the way.

The news/rumor comes from the aforementioned Mr. Stephenson, who spoke of a new iPhone at the Churchill Club in Santa Ana, California on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg. “You’ll have it next year,” he said, referring to a 3G iPhone, also remarking that Apple CEO Steve Jobs would “dictate what the price of the phone is.”

Early reviews of the iPhone complained of its sluggish EDGE Internet access, making 3G a major potential upgrade. In response to such criticism, Jobs explained in September that 3G capability was intentionally foregone on the iPhone to save power and extend battery life.  “We’ve got to see the battery lives for 3G get back up into the five-plus-hour range,” he said at a London news conference. “Hopefully we’ll see that late next year.”

Although no release date was mentioned, news of a new iPhone could slow holiday sales of the current iPhone as customers begin to anticipate an updated version.