We reported on this possibility before (see link below) but a retailer has added fuel to the fire over rumours about O2 and Vodafone jointly sharing the iPhone contract in the UK.

Mobiles.co.uk, in the news at the moment for just being bought out by Carphone Warehouse, is listing Apple's mobile for pre-order with O2 and Vodafone from as little as £99.

It's not the first site in the UK to list the iPhone as coming soon - Play.com and Amazon.co.uk are doing similar things - but for the site to list operators is unusual.

What should we read into this retailer listing? Is it just a publicity stunt from the site or a made-live-too-soon error?

The UK's first online mobile phone store, the site has been established now for 11 years and has won awards, as the only online mobile retailer with official Orange partner-type certification they're not cowboys by any means.

The best deal listed for O2 shows the phone as costing just £99 on a £35 per month 12-month contract, giving you 400 minutes anytime, 50 texts and including Xnet.

It's widely expected that the iPhone will cost more than that in the UK, despite our more usual system of getting handsets subsided. Pricing for Vodafone is to be confirmed.

Both operators have been strongly linked with the iPhone in the UK, with O2's CEO recently saying that they hoped to marketing the mobile in Blighty. Vodafone's CEO was quoted as saying they would prefer to see a 3G version.

This two operator approach contrasts with how Apple sells the iPhone in the States where it is only available via AT&T and customers are signed in to a two-year deal.

We tried to get in touch with the online retailer on the phone to find out more, but they have a policy of not talking to journalists live over the phone - maybe they're scared of what they might let slip.

A Vodafone spokesperson has been in touch to say that this is: "No more than dealer speculation".

Apple has still not formally announced who will get the iPhone contract in the UK, or even indicated whether it will go to one, or more, operators.