We knew that the PlayStation Vita would be connecting to AT&T for 3G service in the US and NTT Docomo in Japan. Now Sony has announced that Vodafone will be the carrier partner for the handheld gaming device in Europe. 3G-capable Vitas will ship with a Vodafone SIM for immediate access to the network, with the carrier also offering the device for sale through its own retail channels. Users connecting with Vodafone's service will also get a free download of Wipeout 2048 from the PlayStation Store.

The partnership will initially be in place in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and The Netherlands, and will use Vodafone's partner SFR in France. It's not yet clear whether these devices will simply be shipping with Vodafone SIMs, or if they'll be locked to the carrier. Perhaps tellingly, Sony is referring to the carrier as its "preferred partner" in the EU, rather than an exclusive one. The Vita goes on sale in the EU and US on February 22nd, with the Vodafone 3G / Wi-Fi Vita priced at €299.99 (£279.99 in the UK); the Wi-Fi only model will sell for €249.99 (£229.99).