Yes, It Is The 3G iPhone In Europe Next Month

Apple’s coyness in refusing to reveal whether the iPhone it is launching in ten countries shortly is in fact the 3G iPhone has been a waste of time. Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) revealed that it is the 3G version of the iPhone which it is going to launch in Italy next month.

“We will be selling an iPhone with 3G capability next month”, Luigi Licciardi, executive vice president for technology and operations at TIM told me yesterday evening on a bus taking us out into the desert for dinner following the first day of the International Electronics Forum 2008 in Dubai. Vodafone announced last week it had signed an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone in ten countries: Australia, Czech Republic, Greece, Italy and Portugal, Egypt, India, New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey. TIM announced it was selling an iPhone in Italy. But neither Apple, nor Vodafone, would say whether the iPhone covered by these agreements is, in fact, the 3G iPhone. So, I had this bizarre conversation with a Vodafone spokesperson: “Is this the 3G iPhone?” I asked “”We’re not saying it is the 3G iPhone,” replied the spokesperson. “What is it then?” “It is an iPhone device”, replied the spokesperson. “Is it the old GSM/GPRS iPhone? I asked “It is an iPhone device”, replied the Vodafone spokesperson. Does that mean it could be an old-style GSM/GPRS phone, but that it might be the new 3GiPhone, but, there again, it might be something else? “I can’t say,” replied the spokesman. Apple was similarly coy in refusing to say what the phone was. But now, thanks to the Italians, we know. It’s the long-awaited 3G version of the iPhone. I suppose, really, we knew it was the 3G iPhone all along. So why didn’t Apple and Vodafone say so? And Yes it was a good dinner in the desert: camels, horse-riding displays, sheep’s tresticles (only joking), belly-dancing, a whirling dervish; that sort of thing.

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