Vodafone is the latest to secure Apple's iPhone

You wait two years for a rival operator to sell the iPhone, then two come along at once. Just one day after Orange secured the right to sell Apple's iconic device – after two years of exclusivity with O2 – Vodafone announced it had landed a similar deal.

Vodafone signed the agreement with Apple late on Monday night, announcing yesterday that the two companies "have reached agreement to bring iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS to the UK and Ireland". The group had attempted to battle the iPhone's dominance in the UK with smartphones including the BlackBerry Storm and the Nokia 5800, but they did not prove as popular. Vodafone has yet to unveil its pricing policy, tariffs and availability – as has Orange – but the move to open up the device from its exclusive contract with O2 is expected to spark a price war among the operators. Vodafone will not have the iPhone on sale in time to challenge Orange and O2 for Christmas, but it will be on sale from early next year. John McPate, an analyst at Evolution Securities, said the delay was "probably because Apple are struggling to meet demand".

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