T-Mobile yesterday confirmed that Apple is set to announce a 3G-based iPhone and said that its Austrian customers would be among the first to get their hands on the new smartphone, according to a newspaper report from Vienna.

On Monday, der Standard, an Austrian national daily, posted a story to its German-language Web site quoting T-Mobile saying a 3G iPhone would be available "soon" and that the Austria would be one the first markets to see the new Apple smartphone.

The newspaper also quoted T-Mobile spokesman Hendrik Kasteel as saying that the mobile provider would debut "more flexible" service plans when the 3G iPhone launched.

Apple launched the current iPhone in Austria in mid-March. T-Mobile, the wireless arm of Deutsche Telekom, is Apple's exclusive network partner in Germany and Austria; in the UK, O2 has exclusive rights to sell iPhone service contracts. In Austria, T-Mobile prices the iPhone at €399 (about £315) for the 8GB model and €499 (£393) for the 16GB device.

Most analysts have predicted a June introduction of a 3G iPhone, probably at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, which runs June 9-13 in San Francisco. CEO Steve Jobs is expected to open WWDC with his usual keynote address and will likely unveil a new iPhone then.

The iPhone's first sales anniversary, June 29, is another possible rollout date touted by some.

Apple declined to comment on der Standard's report. "We do not comment on rumor or speculation," said spokeswoman Jennifer Bowcock in an email. T-Mobile did not reply to questions and a request for confirmation of the account out of Austria.

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