Mobile phone network Vodafone has announced early today that it will be joining Orange in selling the iPhone to its customers, leaving T-Mobile and 3 Networks as the only non MVNO networks not offering the iPhone.
Unfortunately for Vodafone, Apple seems to be looking for a staggered launch with the fruit-themed phone appearing on Orange first (possibly in November) and Vodafone a few months later, missing the all too important Christmas season.
The telecommunications group said today in a statement that "Vodafone and Apple today confirmed that they have reached agreement to bring iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS to the UK and Ireland in early 2010."
Users can already register on a special page for updates and it is very likely that Vodafone will be using the forthcoming iPhone as a lure to prevent its customers from leaving the network in droves.
Vodafone's CEO said that the absence of the iPhone on its network caused around 160,000 subscribers to switch to O2 in one quarter alone which may or may not be true (ed: did you use that reason to leave your network?).
O2 has remained stoic as Apple allowed its two biggest competitors to share its most prized possession as the end of its two year exclusive distribution contrat nears.
In a post on its official blog yesterday, the company said that they always knew that the iPhone exclusivity was for a limited period of time but that their relationship with Apple continues and "will be an ongoing success".
It is also likely that both T-Mobile and 3 Networks will be getting iPhones soon as both companies already enjoy good relationship with Apple. T-Mobile has the iPhone in Germany while Hutchinson Whampoa sells it in Hong Kong and Australia.
Apple is firmly in command of the whole iPhone ecosystems and one can be sure that the marketshare Californian company will be exploding in the next few quarters. No surprise therefore that Apple's shares price ahve jumped nearly 4 percent over the last 48 hours.