said Tuesday that it has signed an agreement with
that will bring the iPhone to 10 new markets before the end of 2008.
Later this year, Vodafone customers in Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Italy, India, Portugal, New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey will be able to purchase the iPhone for use on the Vodafone network, the company said in a release.
At the same time,
said it will also bring the iPhone to Italy on its network, marking the first time Apple will allow its all-in-one device to run on more than one carrier in the same country.
In the U.S., Apple has an exclusive deal with
, while O2 services the U.K. and Ireland.
( DT) T-Mobile wireless carrier has iPhone exclusivity in Austria and Germany. Orange, part of
, carries the iPhone on its network in France.
Shares of Vodafone were lower by 0.7% to $31.87 in early trading. Apple was higher by 0.4% to $185.50.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky said that the move into new markets should help accelerate momentum and market share for Apple, and could possibly be in conjunction with the long-rumored launch of a new 3G iPhone.
"Given most countries have
three or more carriers, with the dominant carrier controlling
less than 40% share, moving to nonexclusivity in our view materially expands iPhone global distribution opportunity and market share, particularly in Europe and Asia," Abramsky said in a research note.
Abramsky adds that by expanding its global addressable market, Apple could ship as many as 14 million iPhones by the end of 2008, which is well ahead of Apple's own goal of 10 million units.