updated 03:40 pm EDT, Mon April 27, 2009
Vodafone iPhone portal
The UK division of Vodafone has launched a beta version of an iPhone web portal, regional reports observe. The site is customizable, and offers access to news content from the likes of Sky and the BBC, as well as games, weather and traffic info, plus access to services such as Flickr and Twitter. Notably, the Vodafone Homepage is described as "available to all iPhone users including non-Vodafone customers."
While Vodafone is one of the major global carriers of the iPhone, selling the device in a host of countries, the UK is one of the few areas in Europe where Vodafone is not an option. There the device is carried only by O2, which has an exclusive distribution deal with Apple. Vodafone may however be hoping that the UK exclusivity will soon end, just as AT&T's monopoly in the US may expire permanently in 2010.
USA Today has suggested that Apple is currently in talks with Verizon, which could become the iPhone's second American carrier. While Apple, the carrier and customers would likely benefit from such a move, strong resistance is anticipated from AT&T, which has experienced continued growth based mainly on iPhone subscriptions. It and O2 may push to gain an extension of exclusivity.