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Tuesday, October 05, 2010, 10:40 pm PT (01:40 am ET)

Vodafone iPhone 4 could launch in Germany Oct. 28

Deutsche Telekom will lose its iPhone 4 exclusivity in Germany when Vodafone begins selling the smartphone on Oct. 28, a new report claims.

German Mac site Macerkopf.de received word Tuesday of Vodafone's plans (Google Translation) for an Oct. 28 iPhone 4 launch in Germany, ending the iPhone exclusivity of Deutsche Telekom. The iPhone 4 would come locked to the Vodafone network. According to the report, Vodafone would begin showing ads for the smartphone on Oct. 18.

The report also expects O2 to begin distributing an unlocked iPhone 4 in Germany soon, but no launch dates were given for O2.

Deutsche Telekom, which is T-Mobile's parent company, is Germany's largest mobile provider with 37 million customers in Germany. Second-place Vodafone has 34.9 million and O2 has 16.3 million.

Earlier reports had suggested that the iPhone would become multi-carrier as early as October.

For its part, Deutsche Telekom is preparing for the loss of iPhone exclusivity by offering discounts (Google Translation) on its plans. The T-Mobile iPhone 4 promotion launched last week with a 10 percent discount on monthly fees for the first year of the two-year contract.

Apple and carriers have faced opposition to the use of exclusive contracts in Europe. In 2007, a German court ordered Deutsche Telekom to sell the iPhone unlocked and without a contract after Vodafone filed a complaint.

"We want the iPhone to be available to everyone without being tied to a contract," said Vodafone Deutschland chief executive Friedrich Joussen.

In 2008, a French court ruled that an exclusive deal between Apple and France Telecom's Orange was in violation of local freedom of competition and pricing laws. After the ruling, the iPhone's market share in France jumped to the 40 percent range.