Apple’s getting serious, planning to introduce its 3G iPhone across Europe by August, with help from its latest partner networks.

Apple’s aiming to ensure the new breed of mobile communications devices are available in quantity across Europe before August, presumably to make some sales before consumers here engage in their customary summer holidays that month.

This news emerges hot on the heels of Vodafone’s announcement today that it would sell the handset in the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy and Portugal in Europe, as well as in Australia, Egypt, India, New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey, later this year.

The move to sell the iPhone in Italy also suggests Apple is departing from its practice of inking exclusive deals with individual networks, as Telecom Italia has also confirmed its intent to sell the iPhone, the current model of which is only available in Austria, Britain, France, Germany, the US and Ireland. The device is also set for sale in Canada, Spain, the Netherlands, Korea and (potentially) China and Russia, according to various reports.

Most analysts believe the next-gen iPhone will be introduced in June, timed to coincide with Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC). News of an August deadline for putting the device up for sale across Europe suggests Apple may plan a phased roll-out of the device, presumably introducing it to the US first – though how the company’s existing network partners in Europe are likely to respond to this isn’t clear.


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