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Wednesday, May 07, 2008, 09:55 am PT (12:55 pm ET)

America Movil to sell Apple's next-gen iPhone in Mexico

America Movil, the largest mobile network operator and corporation in Latin America, said Wednesday it will begin selling Apple Inc.'s iPhone in Mexico and other parts of the region later this year.

As of last March, the Fortune 500 company catered to over 152 million wireless subscribers in 16 countries, primarily those located throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

In its announcement Wednesday, the carrier did not specify a timeframe for when it would begin carrying the touch-screen handset, nor did indicated whether its agreement with Apple afforded it exclusive rights to sell the device in those markets.

America Movil joins a flurry of other carriers around the globe who've announce plans over the past two weeks to begin selling the iPhone to their customers later this year.

Late last month, Rogers Wireless of Canada said it too would begin carrying the Apple handset sometime later this year. Soon thereafter, Vodafone announced plans to bring the device to Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Italy, India, Portugal, New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey.

In a first-ever move for Apple and its handset business, Telecom Italia announced alongside Vodafone that it had also reached an agreement with Apple to market iPhone in Italy, marking the first time the Cupertino-based electronics maker has abandoned its exclusive carrier model for regional phone sales.

In a research report issued to clients on Tuesday, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster noted that up until recently, carriers had been quick to trumpet any exclusivity they received in marketing the first-generation iPhone to their customers. Such behavior appears to be absent this time around, the analyst said, leading him to believe that the most recent wave of iPhone announcements represent non-exclusive deals.

Thus far, carriers announcing new iPhone partnerships have not said when they expect to begin selling the handset, though a recent AT&T Mobility memo suggests the device will launch stateside around the same time the first-generation model went on sale last year (the final Friday in June).