Investment bank Credit Suisse claims Vodafone is one of the favourites to be network operator for the iPhone in Europe.

A research note from the financial services group said that Vodafone could have the sole rights to sell the iPhone in Europe. The group also said that Deutsche Telekom could be Vodafone’s chief rival.

Dutch magazine, Bright, also published an article on its website with the headline “iPhone in Europa via Vodafone”, in which it claims Apple wants Vodafone to buy a certain number of iPhones before launch. Negotiations between the two companies about a distribution deal are still ongoing.

Apple has signed an exclusive five-year deal with AT&T in the US, making it the sole operator for the iPhone across the Atlantic.

The iPhone, which will launch in the US today, is yet to have a European release date set. The European operator for the iPhone is expected to sell around six million of the devices in the first three years, according to Credit Suisse.

See also:

Hands-on iPhone preview

The definitive iPhone guide