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Vodafone inks deal with Apple to sell iPhone in ten countries

Vodafone, the world's largest mobile phone company in dollar sales, announced Tuesday that it has reached an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone in ten of its markets beginning sometime this year.

"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 carrier said in a statement without providing further detail.

Vodafone was at one time believed to be the frontrunner to secure an exclusive contract to sell the current version of the iPhone in the UK, but inevitably lost out to Telefonica's O2 back in September.

Upon last check, the Newbury, England-based firm had 252 million proportionate customers in 25 markets across 5 continents, making it the second largest wireless carrier worldwide in terms of subscribers, trailing only China Mobile.

Vodafone joins Rogers of Canada as the second carrier in as many weeks to announce a deal to usher the iconic touch-screen handset into new markets, presumably alongside the arrival of a 3G model that will operate on the carriers faster GSM-based networks.

Apple had previously stated that it planned to scale the iPhone to additional European countries and parts of Asia during the 2008 calendar year.