It's been awhile since we've had a decent 3G iPhone rumor to kick about. Perhaps it was the collective disappointment of the 2.5G release on Europe which deflated all the mongering. Whatever it was, we all know it's coming, it's just a question of when. Well, the gossip coming out of Italy calls for a Q1 release of a UMTS iPhone. Italian site Morse.IT claims to have spoken to high-level sources and "confirms" in no uncertain terms that Vodafone has signed an exclusive deal with Apple. Right, the same company currently suing T-Mobile in Germany for their iPhone exclusivity. The launch of the 3G iPhone would occur simultaneously in all countries where the carrier operates but will not be announced until after the holidays (MacWorld?) to avoid impacting sales of the existing iPhone. The timing chides well with other rumors calling for a 3G release before May. Still, a Vodafone iPhone sold in the UK and Germany would seem a violation of those long-term exclusive deals presumably signed with Apple by O2 and T-Mobile, right? Sure, unless of course, those contract were for rights to the "iPhone," not the "iPhone 3G" you silly lawyers.

[via Unwired View]

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Vodafone to have exclusive rights to 3G iPhone in Q1?