updated 10:20 am EDT, Tue September 29, 2009
Both regions gaining multiple iPhone carriers
International carrier Vodafone has announced plans to sell the iPhone in both Ireland and the United Kingdom. As sales will only begin in early 2010, few details are available, though via the web interested buyers can sign up for more information as it becomes available. Specific release dates, phone prices and subscription costs should be released in the near future.
The announcement brings a third carrier to the UK, which is currently served by O2 and is soon to be joined by Orange. The arrangement may be more important to Ireland, which will only have a second carrier when Vodafone arrives. Local residents have complained about expensive and restrictive O2 plans, which could be made more reasonable as a result of competition.
Evolution Securities analyst Mark James comments that the Vodafone expansion could mark a rapidly closing window on exclusive iPhone deals, such that new deals may be announced in Spain and Germany in the next few months. Much attention remains focused around the US, the largest iPhone market, where people are still limited to using AT&T. Apple may be ready to announce a second American carrier as soon as 2010, as AT&T's contract with the iPhone maker is nearing an end.