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Official: iPhone phase 3 expansion begins at midnight

Several international wireless providers have sent communications to their subscribers or issued press releases announcing plans to begin selling Apple's iPhone 3G on Friday, with some planning midnight launches.

The new rollouts are believed to be the start of Apple's phase 3 international iPhone launch that will span to approximately 30 countries, 29 of which were revealed by AppleInsider earlier this week and are now officially listed on the company's iPhone website as "Coming Soon."

In particular, Vodacom of South Africa began text messing its subscribers on Thursday, inviting them to begin gathering at VodaWorld headquarters at 9:00 p.m. local time for a midnight launch. The transmission was followed by an email from Apple's European news service, linking to this page.

Turkcell, the leading communication and technology company in Turkey,

sent out a formal press release announcing that it too would begin selling the iPhone on Friday. The carrier listed three calling plans, ranging from 75 YTL for 150 minutes and 150 text messages to 145 YTL for 1000 minutes and 1000 text messages.

Oddly, VOXmobile of Luxembourg — a country not listed on Apple's web site — has also been emailing subscribers, inviting them to its VOX shop in Luxembourg City beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday. The carrier claims to have only 140 phones to sell at its launch party, however, and demand is said to be "very high."

It remains unclear whether carriers in all 30 or so countries will simultaneously launch the iPhone in the respective countries on Friday, or if the roll-out will take place over the course of several weeks. Apple has not commented on the matter outside the aforementioned updates to its website.