updated 06:45 am EDT, Tue May 6, 2008
Vodafone iPhone 10 Nations
Vodafone today made the revelation that it will be an official carrier for the iPhone in ten countries around the world. The telecoms firm will offer the handset to Europeans in the Czech Republic, Italy, and Portugal; Greece, India, and Turkey will be covered by Vodafone in Asia, while Australia, Egypt, New Zealand, and South Africa will also be served by the company. Vodafone doesn't say when it will offer the iPhone other than later this year and avoids other details, including pricing.
The pre-announcement follows a similarly unspecific release by Rogers Canada and appears to overturn common beliefs about carrier choices for the devices. Leaks inside iTunes' code and multiple reports have until now suggested Telecom Italian (TIM) would be the sole provider for the iPhone in Italy, while Optus in Australia has reportedly pushed for exclusive rights. However, earlier reports have since proven at least partly accurate for the Indian deal, which has also called for a September launch.
However, Vodafone doesn't indicate that it has obtained exclusive rights in its countries, and multiple reports in Italy and Australia have suggested the device may be sold to multiple carriers may be unlocked in at least some of these territories. Apple noted in late February that it 'isn't married' to its one-carrier model and will likely adapt its strategy to certain countries where policies or market conditions require different practices.
Apple is commonly expected to introduce a 3G iPhone in June of this year to accommodate extra countries and improve its European standing. While some countries require 3G support for basic use, others often include phone users who are heavily dependent on the faster cellular Internet access for their service plans.