With the stateside launch of Apple’s iPhone just weeks away, questions have begun to emerge surrounding the device’s European launch. Despite the handset being months from hitting store shelves, almost half of European iPod owners would consider the iPhone as their next mobile, according to a survey conducted by Canalys, a Reading, England-based research firm. A key factor in which carrier will offer the iPhone in Europe is whether or not the European version of the handset includes 3G mobile network technology. Apple has already stated that the US version of the phone will not include 3G, instead opting for the more widespread GPRS/EDGE.
If the European version of the iPhone does include 3G, carriers likely to offer the device include 3, a network offering 3G service in Austria, Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Norway and Sweden, and T-Mobile, which offers 3G service in Austria, Britain, and Germany. “Both these operators are the most forward-thinking in how 3G telephones should be brought to consumers,” said Carolina Milanesi, a mobile phone analyst for Gartner in London. “They have the appropriate and futuristic business models necessary for the iPhone already in place.” Vodafone, previously rumored as an Apple suitor, is Europe’s largest service provider.