Kevin Russell, CEO of 3, has confirmed to TechRadar the network is aiming to bring the Apple iPhone 3GS to its range next year.

Speaking at the Westminster Future of Mobile eForum, Russell said "We would take the iPhone, and hope to have it in 2010."

He highlighted the company's focus on non-smartphones to build a consumer base that understands the importance of data on mobiles, but hopes to be pushing into the higher end phones soon.

"The reason we haven't stocked many smartphones is we were [prioritising building our customer base], which is 180 degrees different to the other networks.

Customers before phones

"They've gone down the smartphone route first, but we want smartphones on top of millions of customers. But you will see us moving more into smartphones during 2010.

"We like the way we've come through to a position where we could stock the iPhone, but it's not a product we have to rely on."

3's smartphone move has already begun after it announced it will be stocking the HTC Hero later this year, as part of the new Spotify deal.

It also stocks a number of Symbian-based Nokia mobiles, but hasn't had the 'headline handsets' like O2 has with the iPhone and Palm Pre.

Picking up the iPhone will mean that every network will have a relationship with Apple (if you count T-Mobile and Orange as the same entity following the merger) and could lead to a change in the way the device is offered every year.