Vodafone is Sony's "preferred partner" for 3G Vita in UK

UPDATE: 3G connectivity is not locked to Vodafone.

UPDATE: 3G connectivity is not locked to Vodafone. Vodafone is the only network that's been fully quality-assured by PlayStation, however.

ORIGINAL STORY: Vodafone is the "preferred provider" of 3G connectivity for PlayStation Vita in the UK, Sony has announced.

This deal extends to Ireland, Italy, Germany, Span, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and The Netherlands. In France the preferred partner is SFR, as Vodafone is known there.

The Vita 3G/WI-Fi model comes with a Vodafone SIM card so you can immediately use social gaming features when out and about. These include "near", an application that lets you discover other Vita users who are in your surrounding area and gift virtual items, such as costumes and treasures, to them at the locations they have visited.

3G also enables Party, a pre-installed app that enables communication features during online gaming or web browsing. You can update your gaming status via the Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare apps.

You can also buy the PS Vita 3G/Wi-Fi model direct from Vodafone online and in shops. If you connect with Vodafone you get a PlayStation Network voucher to download WipEout 2048 from the PlayStation Store.

"Data plans will be flexible meeting the needs of all users," Sony said. Additional details about Vodafone data plans and pricing will be announced by Vodafone at a later date.

"With social gaming and connectivity at the heart of PlayStation Vita it is important that we partner with a market leading network provider, to ensure users have a high quality 3G experience." Said Sony Computer Entertainment boss Jim Ryan.

"Partnering with Vodafone will enable PS Vita users in the selected countries to always be connected with their PlayStation life, friends and games, wherever they are."

"We want our customers to have the best choice of devices and PlayStation Vita is a great addition to our range," Patrick Chomet, Vodafone's Group Terminals Director, added.

"We know from our application downloads that games are hugely popular with our customers, so we're delighted to be SCEE's preferred connectivity partner for 3G Vita devices sold across Europe and other selected regional markets. Using the device over Vodafone's high-performance network with extensive 3G reach and market leading download speeds brings a reliable 'anywhere anytime' dimension to gaming."

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