Vodaphone's German headquarters
Vodaphone's German headquarters - 
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Bill Radke: The cell giant Vodafone has struck a deal to sell the iPhone in the U.K. This is the third British telecom operator to reach such an agreement with Apple. What could this say about the iPhone in the States? Marketplace's Stephen Beard has more.

Stephen Beard: Until now, the iPhone has been sold exclusively in Britain through the telecom operator O2. Since the device was launched here two years ago, it's transformed the cell phone market. O2 sold more than a million of the handsets, and took tens of thousands of subscribers from its rivals.

That exclusive contract with Apple is coming to an end. Two other operators, Vodaphone and Orange, have signed deals.

Steven Hartley is with Ovum Research. He says it can't be long before something similar happens in the U.S.:

Steven Hartley: Given the example in the U.K. and other markets around the world, I think it's inevitable the U.S. will eventually open up in some way, shape or form. So AT&T certainly can't rest on its laurels.

He says it's in Apple's interest to get as many telecom operators on board as possible. The company profits not only from the sale of handsets, it takes a cut from the booming market in iPhone applications. Two billion of them have already been downloaded.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.