Two carriers to sell iPhone in Italy, new markets announced

For the first time since Apple's launch of the iPhone last year, two mobile carriers will offer the device to subscribers in a single country.

Both Vodafone and Telecom Italia will offer the iPhone in Italy, which seems to lend some validity to recent reports that Apple may be shifting its strategy to become more open before the 3G release of the iPhone.

RBC Capital markets financial analyst Mike Abramsky made the first hints over the weekend in a research note to clients. He reported that after meeting with Apple executives, he felt that the company was about to shift its strategy.

Among the possibilities he noted at the time were phone subsidies, less carrier exclusivity, and official support for unlocked phones.

It is not clear how the deals with both the carriers will work, and if they include revenue-sharing deals with Apple. Both companies remained fairly quiet on specifics surrounding the Italian launch.

Vodafone however did add that it has secured an agreement with Apple to bring the phone to an additional nine markets through the end of the year. Customers in Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, India, Portugal, New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey will soon be able to purchase iPhones.

Expanding internationally throughout 2008 has been repeatedly mentioned by Apple executives as a top priority in order to reach its stated goal of 10 million phones sold during the year.

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