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Optus named second Oz iPhone carrier

Multi-network sales approach confirmed

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It's official: Apple is taking a multi-carrier approach to selling the iPhone Down Under. Australian cellco Optus today said it will be selling the handset.

The Optus deal is a result of a tie-in between Apple and Singaporean carrier SingTel, which owns Optus. SingTel and its other subsidiaries will release the iPhone in Singapore, India and the Philippines, in addition to Australia.

This will happen "later this year", so it's almost certainly going to centre on the eagerly anticipated 3G version of the handset, which is expected to be announced next month.

The Optus announcement comes a week after Vodafone said it had reached an agreement to offer the iPhone in ten countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Italy and Portugal.

Last month, it was alleged that Apple would launch the 3G iPhone in Australia at the end of June, offering the handset through a range of carriers in place of the one-per-territory approach it's taken with the current model.

It was said that Apple resellers would also get a shot at supplying the phone, indicating that it may be offered unlocked. Some might see that as a clear result of the new multi-carrier approach to sales, but since it's easy enough to lock phones for given carriers, that's not a given.

However, Apple may see this as a less expensive way for it to proceed with a range of carriers than creating iPhones tailored - and, crucially, branded - for each network.

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