Last month Sony announced that its upcoming PlayStation Vita console would launch worldwide beginning February 22, 2012. Later, the publisher outlined the console's game transfer fees, revealing that players who wish to play PSP titles on the Vita will have to repurchase them at a discounted price.
Now, Sony has further outlined its plans for the new console ahead of its early-2012 release, announcing it has partnered with mobile phone carrier Vodafone to see the company as the "preferred provider" of 3G connectivity on the Vita in Australia, New Zealand, and other territories including the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, and The Netherlands.
According to Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), the Vita 3G/Wi-Fi model will come with a Vodafone SIM card in selected countries; users will also be able to buy the console model direct from Vodafone retailers, both online and in-store. In addition, SCEE revealed that users connecting with Vodafone will receive a PlayStation Network voucher to download Wipeout 2048 from the PlayStation Store, available in all territories where the Vodafone partnership applies.
Full plan pricing details have yet to be announced, but Vodafone has announced that the console will be sold outright for AU$449, and that a AU$0 up-front plan will be available for the 3G + Wi-Fi model. The carrier has launched a website where you can register to be informed when more details become available.
However, it is important to note that Vodafone will serve only as the Vita's "preferred" carrier; users will not be locked to the carrier if they should choose to go with another service provider for 3G connectivity.
According to Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCEA), Vodafone Australia recently announced that 900 sites are now live in the provider's 850MHz network built for smartphones and data, and 2,000 sites in the existing network have been replaced with new equipment. According to SCEA, by the middle of next year Vodafone will have 1,500 sites in the 850MHz network and 8,000 sites where equipment has been replaced.
The PlayStation Vita will go on sale in Australia on February 23, 2012.