Although not currently named as a member of the Open Handset Alliance, American mobile phone operator Verizon Wireless has announced it is to back Google's "Android" mobile phone operating system.

At launch, Sprint and T-Mobile were the only major operators to add their official support to the open source operating system, widely touted as the future of the mobile phone industry.

But, following the u-turm made by Verizon late last month with the news that it was to open its network to third party devices by the end of next year, the company has also apparently reconsidered its stance on Android.

CEO Lowell McAdam has said it makes sense to get behind Android. "We're planning on using Android", McAdam told BusinessWeek. "Android is an enabler of what we do."

UK-based Vodafone owns a 45% stake in Verizon, leading to questions within the industry if this means Vodafone will soon follow suit with a declaration of support for Google's coming-soon mobile platform.