Vodafone will provide the connectivity features for the 3G version of the PlayStation Vita.

The mobile giant will provide service in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and The Netherlands. Those in France will receive service from Vodafone's partner in the region.

Sony confirmed that the 3G model will include a SIM card "so that users can immediately enjoy social gaming experiences on the go". Gamers will also be able to purchase the PlayStation Vita directly from Vodafone's various retail channels, both in-store and online. Anyone that connects with Vodafone will receive a complimentary voucher to download Wipeout 2048 from the PlayStation Store.

“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's 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.”

Vodafone's Patrick Chomet chipped in: “We want our customers to have the best choice of devices and PlayStation Vita is a great addition to our range. 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.”

The actual details of the service remain in limbo for now. It's unclear whether the system will follow a traditional mobile contract model or Japan's more accessible "pay-as-you-go" option, but with the preferred provider in place we're sure more details will emerge over the coming months.

Update @ 14:27PM GMT: While Vodafone has been announced as the "preferred" carrier for PlayStation Vita in Europe, Sony has confirmed that the system will be unlocked, allowing customers to sign up with whichever service provider they prefer.