Vodafone planning to sell iPhone

 

Vodafone has today announced it will sell the Apple iPhone in Ireland and the United Kingdom from 2010.

Vodafone, the world's largest mobile operator by revenue, will join Telefonica's O2 in selling the phone in Ireland from early next year.

In Britain, Orange said it would start selling the phone before the end of this year, breaking O2's exclusive two-year hold on the phone, and raising hopes that a price war between operators would push the price down for consumers.

Vodafone said in a statement it would now offer the touchscreen smartphone through 13 of its operating companies.

Vodafone Ireland customers can register their interest in iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS at the company's website.

The company said pricing, tariffs, and availability information will be announced locally later.

Analysts welcomed the announcement, saying it was a huge boost for Vodafone and a blow for O2. They also speculated that other exclusive sales deals in Europe, such as in Spain, could also soon unwind.

When launched in mid-March 2008, the original eight-gigabyte model from Apple and O2 retailed for €399 and the 16 gigabyte model for €499.

However, just four months later, the iPhone 3G was introduced at prices between €49 and €229, depending on the model purchased and the tariff customers sign up to.

Additional reporting Reuters